Tuesday, February 12, 2013

"How do you do it?"

It took me two years to define a good set of working hours.  At first, I wanted to work all the time!  Then, I felt it encroaching on my time with the dogs, husband, friends, family...and it felt endless....working all the time.  I needed a break.  That's when I switched to working a set hour schedule, and turned everything off at 5:00 pm.  Central time.  No if's, and's, almost done's, or one more thing's!

Thirteen months ago, that all changed when I had a little boy.

There is no way I can work with power tools and also take care of a child at the same time.  For one, it's dangerous.  For two, LOUD.  And, they don't make noise cancelling ear protection for infants.  I checked.  

Just kidding, I didn't really check.

I worried all through my maternity leave how I would ever be able to get back to it...and the pre-orders were piled up sky high.  But, each month got better, and more structured.  I'm blessed that the kiddo is a good napper and loves his routine.  He must have gotten used to the sound of all the tools when I was pregnant, because they don't have a tendency to wake him up, either.

I've tried a lot of different ways to get all these wonderful signs and products out the door.  Some have worked-sort of, and some have made life so chaotic I wanted to pull my hair out!  

After 30+ years with myself, I decided to go back to basics, where I'm most comfortable and happy.  Basics in this scenario is efficiency.  To be efficient, I need only concentrate on one thing at a time.  So, here's where I landed:

Monday - Run carvings and pack up last week's orders for post office pick up

Tuesday - Run carvings

Thursday - Staining and painting

Friday - Finishing

We (me and the custom items) take the weekend off, to really have the stain/finish set before shipping, and to give me a much needed break with the family. 

In among all that, I'm shipping ready made items the next business day from when they're ordered, talking to clients about custom orders, and trying desperately to keep up with all the teams I'm apart on Etsy.  That last one is the hardest for me....and I always feel like I'm so behind in it!

How are things different with the kid?  Well, I work feverishly during nap times, trying to accomplish as much as I can while he sleeps.  That doesn't always happen.  Sometimes, I'm labeling shipments and hubby is watching the kiddo at night.  Sometimes I get up really early in the morning to get something done.  The "doors" don't necessarily close at 5pm anymore.  It's just the way of it, now that my time is not necessarily always mine.  

At the end of the week, I feel accomplished, and the whole family is happy.  So, that's at least a success.  It took a bit of trial and error to find balance, but it was there.  Always is.


  1. Balance is sometimes the toughest thing to find in working life when we're based out of our homes. I don't have kids but still there are days when I feel like the balance is totally out of whack because of general household stuff that needs to get done and it would be really easy to abandon all of my work to finish it. Some days I do exactly that because in my case I'm lucky that right now there isn't an Agent breathing down my back to get the work finished, polished & out the door. Other times the laundry & dishes pile up so high and we run out of food in the fridge because all I can focus on is the creative juices flowing through my fingers. In the end though I started taking weekends to do anything other than work or housework. Those days are sacred when I allow myself to have them :-)

    1. I'm still working on allowing myself some time. ;) I'm not good at sitting still, but I desperately need to sometimes!