Crafty Business (Part 3): Finding Balance
Happy Friday My Readers!!
I hope you are enjoying the Crafty Business Series so far. Today is the third post in this series, brought to you by another one of the administrators of The Sew Much Talent Facebook group, Laquana Drayton.
Many of us are like Laquana, have to-do list and priorities that work us overtime. But, we still need and want that "me time", our business(es), and/or our hobbies. So, how do we make it all happen and keep our sanity, and keep our families together?
Well, let's read on and see what Laquana shares from her own experiences...
Women in particular need to keep an eye on their physical and mental health, because if we're scurrying to and from appointments and errands, we don't have a lot of time to take care of ourselves. We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own 'to do' list.
Finding balance is the goal for 2018, stress, disorganization and over extending ourselves are a thing of the past. But, wait, I have so much to do, and so little time, does that sound familiar? Hi, my name is Laquana and blog over at www.MadebyLaquana.blogspot.com and thank you for stopping by! I’d like to share with you how I balance my life. Sewing and blogging are my favorite hobbies and they take up a lot of my time. I’m also a Wife, Mother and full time Accountant/ Analyst, needless to say, I’m super busy! I like having things to do just as much as I like doing nothing on the beach. I get over extended just like everyone else, there are goals that I need to make time for and others that I need to let go of.
My secret to managing everything is my accountability partner and keeping my tasks and goals organized and realistic. Balancing my tasks/ goals and being mindful when I’m out of balance does not come easy, I have to work at it. I’m a recovering procrastinator that still falls off the wagon. I write down what I need to do on my white board and calendar, I’m electronic, if appointments are not on my calendar or white board for me to see they will most likely get overlooked. I move things around as I need to and I make sure I make time for the things I want to do. I try to put in exercise, vacations, networking, workshops/classes and research on my calendar. I want to be well rounded so I know that I will need to make sure that months don’t go by without taking a break or I make sure all orders were completed by the scheduled date. More importantly, I schedule down time and when my body says it’s tired, I listen to it, I take breaks and I break down task into manageable chunks. I also have accountability partners that I rely on to help me stay focus.
So, what’s balance, balance by definition is” an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady. There is a point when things become unbalanced and we have to take stock of our personal goals and what they are rooted in by our own definition and balance things out. This, is the hardest thing for me to manage and I work on it daily.
I can tell you to spend 30 min before bed sewing, but if that’s the time you spend with your family, that won’t work, you may have to cut out patterns on your lunch break or early in the morning. You have to make a plan that works for you and your family, you have to make time for the things that are important to you. More importantly, you have to schedule your hobbies just like you schedule your meditation, work, meals, exercise, etc. You may not spend every day on your hobby so the time you do commit has to be maximized. You may have to get up before everyone to get 30 minutes of uninterrupted time to mediate, exercise, write, etc...
If you are a business owner, keeping track of orders, financial/ tax information and customer communication are important and should be organized. You should have a daily ritual and schedule of what should be accomplished and how long it should take you. You should make a habit of writing down what you need to do and what you have done and checking it off your list. If you’re not a list maker, you have to find a system of organization that works for you, this can be on an app, in a journal/notebook, white board, calendar, sticky notes etc. I believe looking at what you have to do at a glance can help you to see where your over extended and where your time wasters are. Also, seek assistance and help where needed, you may have to get help with ordering, packaging, sending emails, etc. Use your resources!
I’ve learned the hard way that burn our is real and sorry to say, there is no one size fits all approach to balance, time management, or organization. I do think that there are some tools that will work for most people. When I owned my own business, I was always working my business, I had to make sure I made contact with vendors, returned emails, social media, sending out product, following up on inquiries, networking, paying bills, invoicing customers, looking for new business and the list goes on. I was horrible at delegating and my Blackberry (dating myself) was always in my hand, I understand how much work goes into owning your own business or hustle while having a family and other interest. The goal is to reduce stress, and find balance, it won’t take it all away but it can make things manageable.
So, are you ready? OK, let’s jump right into my seven tips to maintain balance, these are in no specific order:
Don’t over plan your day: I follow the 75/25 rule of planning, I try to plan no more than 75% of my day to leave room for life. You have to leave time for unexpected and unplanned things like picking up a child from school or helping a friend. If you know something takes you 3 hours with no distractions to complete and you only have 2 hours and the kids or responsibilities, why say yes? Sometimes you have to, but managing expectations are very important with meeting your goals and being who you want to be. Your integrity and character are important and taking on more than you can manage and not getting things done timely can be a problem if people are depending on you.
Reduce distractions: your time is very precious, use your time wisely. Find your time wasters and work at reducing your time doing them. It could be T.V, social media, window shopping, talking on the phone, browsing the internet etc. There’s nothing wrong with these things, but if you spend all your free time doing them how do you get your goals accomplished? Remember, balance. I make a lot of calls during my commute or while I’m waiting for something else. I may schedule a coffee date to catch up with a friend or catch a movie. Down time is important, but too much down time can be a time stealer.
Be stingy with your time: your time is very precious, use it wisely. Make sure you have time for your family, your health and your friends but more importantly make sure you have time for yourself. If you need 20 min a day to decompress and mediate, make that happen, if talking to your family and friends is important make sure you have time for it. Contrary to popular belief, you can say no or not right now every once in a while, it’s healthy!
Identify what you want to do and work on it: Be careful of jumping around from thing to thing or idea to idea and not completing anything. Set goals of things you want to do, and try your best to finish it. It’s nothing like starting five things at one time and in the end not completing any of them. If you want to write a book, start writing, if you want to start a blog, figure out what you want to blog about and start working on content, if you want to sew your own wardrobe start with pieces you can make and build up your wardrobe. Progress over perfection is your mantra, the goal is to start somewhere, practice really does make perfect.
Consistency: I can’t stress how important being consistent is. Be where you say you’re going to be and do what you say you are going to do. If your mission or goals change, that’s fine, but don’t stop. Keep learning, keep working at it and keep seeking ways to become better. If you set a schedule keep it until it becomes a part of your routine. Answer emails and correspondence, provide the item/service you were paid to provide. For example, if writing a daily blog post is too much, try twice a week, if that doesn’t work go for once a week and make the content worth the wait. If you can only get a garment a month completed, that’s fine, make it worth wild, something that you enjoy and something you will wear.
Support and accountability: Find a partner and networks that share the same goals as you. Get support from the people you trust and care about you, people that will help you stay focused and will help you along the way. People you can count on, that you can learn from and will be a support system. Helping and teaching others are great ways to help build a support system and help you to be accountable. Your network should be positive and encourage you to be the best version of yourself, it should be a safe place. Your support system could be a family member, friend, mentor, coach, gym buddy, therapist, church member. or networking associates. Get in the habit of checking on the people you care about and get the support you need.
Be the author of your life: Set your own goals and try not to compare yourself to others. Not everyone can do everything all the time. I can’t sew a (wearable) garment in an hour most times and I won’t sew a wardrobe in a weekend so I shouldn’t even set that goal because it’s unrealistic. It may take me five hours to sew a dress and two years to have a closet full of me made garments, but you have to be realistic about your goals and your ability. Get good at reevaluate your personal system, is it working, are you getting what you need to get done, done? Do you need to change things around? Make time for research and inspiration. This may be researching how to do a thing or a niche in your current market that you want to get into. Join groups to see what’s out there and how you fit in without allowing them to consume all of your time.
There are so many resources out there on how to organize your workspace and life using: worksheets, calendars, to do lists, software, apps, and checklists. I think these resources are great, but they only work if you use them and they make life easier for you. Take these tips loosely and play around with them until you find what works for you. I’ve met a lot of people who ask how I stay organized, how do I have time to sew and blog and generally how I manage my time? I will tell you, I’m not an expert, and I have a lot to learn, but what I do know is, I’m a work in progress and I try my best to follow my tips to keep things in balance.
I’d like to hear from you, how do you manage your projects, work and family? What are your go to tools?
I know this was a little lengthy, but I hope you thought it was just as informative as I did.
Laquana, thank you for lending insight and solutions to an all so familiar subject!
Come back next week as we here from another one of the administrators for the Sew Much Talent FB group, Linda Faye Lewis of the blog Faye's Sewing Adventures. Faye will talk to us about the administration of blogging. I can't wait !!
Love you to life!