The best laid plans

Is it weird to wish it was next year already? I feel like 2016 just started and I’m already kind of over it. I had such plans this year but … wait, you know what, I think I said that last year, too, and then last year I broke my finger and couldn’t work for a couple of months. This year I just didn’t schedule very well. MASSIVE DIFFERENCE.

0819aY’all know I love my bullet journal… then a month or two ago I added the smaller, field-note sized journal to take the place of Evernote, which wants $70/year for a bunch of shit I’d never use, just to be able to access it on more than two devices. HAHAHAHAH, whatever. For half of that I bought this small journal and a bunch of little notebooks. SUCK IT, EVERNOTE.

So I thought I was doing a good job of scheduling work this year – I had three things a month that would be “new” — a new limited or permanent yarn colorway, a new soap fragrance or guest set, and something new in ceramics. But, since I don’t seem to get really large orders any more, I didn’t schedule myself any real wiggle room – so of course one week I got a wholesale soap order and three different ten-bars-for-$50 soap orders, and I thought I could do all of those before I started on yarn club since my yarn wasn’t in yet, but then the soap took longer than I thought because I was also trying to make some ceramics for a show at the same time, and that made me behind in yarn club, and that pushed back the September limited yarn and the new permanent colorway I’d planned for October, and really in looking at my notes I hadn’t scheduled those far apart enough anyway, so what was I thinking when I wrote those notes down about when I’d do things?!

And it just so happens that I’m thinking about all this when I’m taking a look at 2017 in general, planning out when I want to do things (if not the actual thing I’m going to do). This is my wall calendar for last year, and for this year. Last year I wrote out my major theme for the week (clay, soap, or yarn) but I didn’t put the dates of new releases on the calendar – just what I’d be working on that week. That means that when I went to go write out what I wanted to release and when, in my bullet journal, I was really only paying attention to what I’d be doing that week… not also what was going on the weeks before and after.

Let me see if I can explain that better. I wanted to release a new permanent yarn colorway. A good time to release a new colorway that I’ll always stock, is the week before I dye yarn – that way, if anything sells out, I can restock quickly. That means I have to actually dye the yarn to sell the previous time I’m dyeing yarn. Which is fine – generally, that works out… unless I’m not paying attention and the “previous time” turns out to also be the weeks I’m dyeing yarn club, which might not leave me time to also dye a lot of other yarn. So I wrote down to dye yarn on Week X, not really paying attention to what else I already had written down in a different place about what I was doing on Week X.

2016-09-11-09-38-16 2016-09-11-09-38-28

So for next year (and I’ve already decided to cut back on what I was going to do this year, and am not doing the yarn I had planned for November and December) I’m in the process now of moving a bunch of sticky notes around on the calendar trying to decide (a) which weeks would be good to release a product that will have me (b) not releasing more than one new product a week or (c) not releasing a like product on a big like week (as in, not releasing a new yarn colorway the same week that I’m also trying to get yarn club out) and (d) not scheduling four or five weeks in a row where I’d be releasing new things, so that I can have some scheduled-in wiggle room.

So next year, I won’t have three things a month that stack up on top of each other. Some months I won’t have yarn, other than club. Some months I won’t have a new soap. Every month I will have a new ceramic mug, because I want to do a series of limited edition mugs — I’ll  only make ten or twelve of a particular style that I have an idea for, and when they’re gone, they’re gone — but then every couple of months I’ll have a new ceramic thing for the store, too (I’ve been wanting to make incense burners for a while, and a couple of month’s ago I made a pizza plate for Sharon that other people have wanted me to bring in, so … there will be new things… but I’m not going to overload my calendar again). Well, I shouldn’t say overload. I just didn’t give myself a lot of room to run late — I wanted to do three big things a month and when scheduling their release dates I didn’t take into account the dates of the things I wanted to release on the months before and after, and that meant a lot of stacked work. And then sales have been so slow I decided to take on a couple of craft shows, which I hadn’t planned on (but am glad I’m doing).

Is it next year yet? Now? How about now?

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