Hello, my ragtime gaaaaaaaaaal

A lot of times as a self-employed person, I feel like this….

…. but then there are days I feel like this….

… and also this.

WHAT IS A GIRL TO DO, I ASK YOU?!?! And also I will tell you.

A girl has to constantly re-evaluate her work schedule and priorities (also humans who are not girls or non-girls or quasi-girls or sometimes-girls-and-sometimes-not, or whatever — if you’re new to the blog I constantly refer to myself as “a girl” because I constantly feel like I am twelve years old).

And it’s funny that I’m making myself evaluate this week because just a couple of weeks ago a friend asked me how I scheduled my days, and I was like AWESOMELY THANK YOU FOR ASKING. This is what I said…

Right now, my work schedule is roughly… wake up by 7; have coffee and check email/write blog post/work on social media; shower/breakfast; come to studio by 9; put any orders together and take to PO/UPS; work until 3* with a break for lunch; write until 5-6.

* “work” can be… making soap, wrapping soap, glazing ceramics, firing the kiln, handbuilding, throwing, slipcasting, product photography, dyeing yarn, winding yarn, making stitch markers or buttons, planning out future work such as researching what cherry-type ceramics and soap I could make for a “Cherry Bomb” themed club crate, checking in on Ravelry, writing any blog posts I didn’t have time to write in the day earlier, supply inventory, supply ordering, paperwork, accounting work, finding things to keep my Shop Elf busy if it’s here, answering people’s emails/social media messages, and so on.

However, I’m tired all the time, I always feel like I’m behind in things, sales are down and I’m down on myself because of that (I mean, I make everything that people buy, so if people aren’t buying, I must not be making good things, right? Surely it’s not that people are busy or stressed about their own financial situations or are waiting for a specific thing, or, or, or….), and a lot of days now by the time I get to 3:00 when it’s time for me to stop working on HaldeCraft and start writing, I’m either not at a good stopping point with what I was working on and feel that I need to finish, or I am too tired to tap into any more creativity, or both of those things together.

So!

Let’s play that game where I evaluate what I’m doing and think of different ways to do it!

Clearly – something – about my current schedule isn’t working well. How can I flip that around?

There are easily five to eight hours a day worth of HaldeCraft things I can do. There are easily two to three hours of writing I can do in a day. There are, conservatively, an hour of “errands” every day (everything from going to the post office to going to the grocery store, I tend to lump personal and work errands into one group to make it easier to get everything in one fell swoop – also I don’t have to leave the house multiple times a day). There are also things like dishes to do, laundry to do, cat boxes to clean, and breakfast and lunches and dinners to make and consume. Did I mention I bought a treadmill? I’ve been trying to get about 45 minutes on it at a time, when I can. I’m trying for three days a week. I’d love it to be every day. But as with everything, there are only so many hours in a day.

HOWEVER – I am highly motivated to make this work. I love what I do. I only want to do what I do now. Ever. I don’t want to have to get a job flipping burgers, or serving coffee, or cleaning houses, or whatever. I mean, I *would*, don’t get me wrong, if it’s work for someone else or starve, I like food way too much to starve. But I’d rather do this, more effectively.

So!

Let’s look at that schedule, shall we? HaldeCraft in the morning, writing in the late afternoon. Except that for the last couple of weeks it’s been hard to get to the writing part with energy and brain power.

So!

How can I change that?

  1. I could do the same thing I’m doing now, no changes.
  2. I could do the same schedule I’m doing now, but with a hard shut-off of HaldeCraft at 3, and some things I do there just taking longer than they take now.
  3. I could do the same schedule I’m doing now, but with a hard shut-off of HaldeCraft at 3, and stop offering some things I offer now, so that the things I do offer would take a shorter amount of time than “longer”.
  4. I could do an every-other-day thing, with HaldeCraft one day, Writing one day, HaldeCraft the next day, Writing, HaldeCraft… ok, no, imma nix that right now, that sounds like a horrifying way for me to never know what I’m supposed to be doing from day to day.
  5. I could schedule two days a week to be Just Computer Days (in which I would work on both fiction writing and blog posts and social media for HaldeCraft). Right now I have one day a week scheduled like that – Sunday, when I write my Patreon posts and work on social media for the week. If I scheduled two, would I feel more productive because the other days of the week wouldn’t have much computer work? Or would I feel less productive because I’d be “down” one day a week (but not really “down” because the hours in the week I spend on the computer could be transferred all into one day).
  6. I could flip my schedule, and write for 2-3 hours in the morning, and then work on HaldeCraft from about noon to 6(ish).

Honestly that last one feels the most appealing, but … what about orders? Right now orders are the first thing I do when I get to the studio by 8:30 or 9. I wouldn’t get to them now until about noon or 1. Meaning they might not make it into the mailbox, and I’d have to drive up to the post office (unless I scheduled them for posting the following day, which I don’t like to do except in cases of extreme issues, because I like to get things out as quickly as I can — this both makes me feel like I’ve crossed something off my list and lets the customer know that I consider them important by sending them their thing right away).

So do I take care of orders first thing, then switch to writing, then switch back to HaldeCraft? Because that sounds like a recipe for me to get sidetracked and extremely disorganized. I’d rather sometimes send things out a day late than get sidetracked and disorganized and maybe drop the ball on, oh, everything. Or most things. Or anything.

The answer is already somewhere in this post, I’m not asking for advice. Feedback is welcome, on my thoughts, but I’m really certain I already know the answer, I just don’t see it yet. I need to spend some time weighing different scenarios. Like I said; this is all I want to do. I’m motivated to make it work. But I have to be the one who figures out how best to make it work for me.

Work at home, kids! Live the dream!

2 Comments

  1. Quinn

    Hmmm… What if you wrote in the morning, then did computer work, go straight to PO/UPS, Haldecraft, and then end your day getting orders together? Oh, and take time to eat somewhere in there. Multiple time. And caffeinate.

    • Wait, what? EAT??? Ugh. 😉

      The thing about getting packages ready at the end of the day that gives me hives to think about is that only about half my orders come in during “office hours”. So if someone orders something late Thursday night, but I don’t get it ready until Friday at the end of the day, it means it can’t actually be shipped until Monday. I … I can’t even focus on that thought without shallow breaths!

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