By the numbers

One  – load of laundry I did last Tuesday that I haven’t had time to fold yet (but that’s OK, I’ve actually worn most of it by now).

Eighteen – number of owl ornaments I painted over the three-day weekend.

Twelve – number of hours it took me to paint all 18 owls.

Eighteen again – number of owls I still need to paint, but can’t yet because I used all the appropriate stilts for the first 18 so I have to wait until next time I glaze fire the kiln which won’t be until the precious week between coming back from vacation and GLAM.

Seven – number of weekend orders I had, that I was able to get boxed up yesterday and today need postage and shipping.

Two – number of hours it took me to box them up.

Five – the number of vials of blood I had drawn yesterday so that my new doctor can check my cholesterol, Vitamin D levels, and pretty much everything else.

Four – the number of cat boxes I need to clean out today before the vet gets here.

Ten – the time the vet is getting here.

Thirty (plus) – the number of skeins of yarn hanging on the back porch that have to be wound.

Fifty (plus) – the number of bars of soap I made over the weekend, for restocks and for an upcoming craft show.

Seventy (plus) – the number of bars of soap I still need to make.

One Hundred and Twenty – the number of bars of soap I’m going to need to wrap soon.

Zero – the number of my friend’s blogs that I’m currently caught up on.

Three – the number of people who have posted somewhere online the implication that I’m not working hard enough because I haven’t yet listed the thing they want to buy.

Three – number of people I want to punch in the throat.

Eleven – number of yarn clubs that I am ready to put postage on right now.

Almost twenty – number of yarn clubs that I still need to put swag together for so that I can get them in the mail today.

Three – number of hours it took me to put just the swag together for the eleven I’ve gotten together (not counting the time it’s taken me over the last three months to slowly make the ceramic ______ that I’ve made for swag (word redacted for SPOILERS).

Zero – chance I will make this item for swag again.

One – number of ink cartridges I swore I had but can’t find, so had to run out and buy in the middle of the day so that I could finish printing labels for yarn club.

At least a dozen – emails that I have not yet responded to that need an answer.

Thirty (plus) – number of molds I poured over the weekend because some of the items I was going to take to GLAM with me have sold, after not having any interest in them for more than six months, hence my not making any extras because why make more if it’s not selling whoops.

Two – number of times I burst into tears over the weekend, certain that I’m not going to get all this ready for GLAM.

Two – number of times I considered throwing my hands up and going to work at McDonalds.

Eleven – number of days I have between now and leaving for vacation.

Seven – number of days between coming back from vacation and GLAM.

Two or three – number of days it’s going to take me to put price tags on items and pack them for GLAM.

Zero – ideas I have for December Ravelry advertising.

Nine – days I have to get my December Ravelry advertising campaign sent in.

One – number of friends coming over to help me out today by winding yarn while I hide under my desk and chew on my hand.

Having said all that, I feel like I have to reiterate that I love what I do. I love this like I’ve never loved doing anything, except maybe spending an entire Saturday when I was about eleven years old doing nothing from breakfast to dinner other than curling up on the couch and reading Little Women. But a lot of the time I feel like I’m being pecked to death by ducks; it doesn’t hurt but it’s bothersome as fuck.

Part of that is that I feel I can’t ever FINISH anything these days. There’s enough time for me to make something, but then barely time to finish/photograph/list/talk about it, and definitely not enough time to clean up after myself before I have to focus my attention on other things. I thought that things would get easier on my schedule when I quit making hand lotion and lip balm, but like a squeezed balloon, other things to do have swollen up in the spot. Once again it’s time to re-evaluate my schedule of worktime, and see what I can do to make the flow of work a little more manageable. For instance, right now soap week is after yarn week. Would it make sense to switch that, and have yarn week after soap week? That way if it was humid and the soap didn’t dry quickly enough for me to wrap it, instead of not being able to wrap it the next week because that’s ceramic week and I do a lot of work then, wouldn’t it make sense to have a few extra days at the beginning of the week when I could (possibly) wrap soap while still dyeing yarn? Some ceramics are made on the same table as I wrap soap, which is why it’s hard to catch up then; but I don’t use that table during yarn week.

Part of it is that I’m too willing to take on large custom orders at inconvenient times (IE, a large soap order someone needs the same week that I’m dyeing yarn club) – I need to be more firm/better at/willing to say “no” when I know full well it’s not a good time for me to do FILL IN THE BLANK. I’ve spent far too much time in the last six months like a pachinko ball, twirling around the house bumping into shit and knocking around. I keep hearing the voice of one of my old bookstore managers — “are you managing your store? Or is your store managing YOU?”. I am a people-pleaser and want to make everyone happy – but if I’m a stressball and giving the evil eye to large custom orders due at times that are not good for me, how is that happy? It might be harder at the outside to say “I won’t be able to start that until the next time I’m slipcasting ceramics, which is in three weeks, and then it takes at least four weeks on top of that to finish” (“but what if I lose the custom order and/or the good will of my customer” is for some reason always my first thought, and not “what is my schedule like”) but if I’m working triple-time in order to then make enough to fire the kiln at a not-that-type-of-kiln-firing week (bisque firings and glaze firings have to be run differently) and semi-dropping-the-ball on everything else to clear time for that…? How is that good? How is that productive? It makes me feel bad because I’m stressed, and it makes me look bad because I’m always online telling people “sorry I don’t have time to blog/knit/list the item you want”.

Part of it is that I love what I do, and do it at home, so wind up doing it seven days a week. And it never fails — if I take a random day off, someone invariably emails me the next day to ask why I haven’t listed/made/restocked INSERT ITEM HERE. Normally that stresses me out – I feel like I’ve failed a customer – but I’m getting to the point where I’m also internally rolling my eyes and thinking “call my Union rep”. Even God took a day off that first week, if you’ve read that book (SPOILERS!). So I’m starting to unplug as much as possible one day a week. I’ve tried unplugging before (not going online) for a few hours a day, but then invariably I get online to check/list something and someone has emailed me and I need to put out a fire or answer a question or whatever; and then I’m sidetracked and sometimes things go pear-shaped. So instead, starting a few weeks ago, the new plan is one day a week where I’m not online for work at all, barely online for personal reasons, and not feeling guilty about not answering emails. I’d love it to be a middle-of-the-week day but I spent a few weeks before choosing which day by evaluating when I get messages, when people try to get in touch with me, and what times of day/days of the week have the most interactions, and I’ve chosen Sunday as the Unplugged Day. That seems to be the day that the least number of people are trying to reach me. And so, reach me they shall not.

So then. Now that I’ve got all THIS off my chest! Time to go, I need to shower, clean the cat boxes, and sweep the floor before the vet gets here. And put together some swag for yarn club. Oh, I can’t wait to tell you all about what THAT’S been like, but I’m holding off, because SPOILERS.

2 thoughts on “0

  1. All – the number of hugs for a fellow one-woman business owner.

    As you recently reminded me, things made with just two human hands = much more time involved. I torqued the ever loving crap out of my shoulder wire wrapping a few dozen earrings last night and I have more to do plus orders to make and fulfill today so…

    Four – the number of Advil to keep my chugging through my day it is! Heh

    Seriously though, I understand how much time all this takes and how much the emphasis is on the “labor” part of “labor of love” so again, all the hugs!

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