Saturday, October 12, 2013

Less is More

Okay, yeah, I'm still thinking about time. I want more time! More time to be creative. But there isn't any — so, instead I will actually use less time. Yes, you read that right. Less time.

The tricky part is that that time will need to be well managed.

In my last post I brought up the topic of time management. We all struggle with it. We agonize over it. And we often fail at it.

I also shared what needed to be re-figured in my studio plan:

• What I need to do: maintain my shop and current inventory
• What I can do: keeping my production goals at what are actually humanly possible
• What I want to do: work on new designs and experiment with new techniques

Some of my shop staples

So over the past two weeks (actually it was about 2 days — I didn't have enough time to start earlier!) I sat down (with my kitty friend on my lap) with pen and paper (my computer was being too distracting) and got planning.

I started first with the realistic approach… (Some people will tell you I'm too realistic at times! ;-)

While I'd like to make gobs of beads, I don't need to. (There's nothing more satisfying than seeing that huge heap of beads on my work table — but wow is it exhausting getting there.) I'd love to work on new beads every day, but my customers want what I already have. My goal has always been that my studio be self-sufficient — never does it get any more funds than what comes out of it, so making what people want is a must. And finally, I'm only human — I do have to sleep sometime!

Next I took the artist-needs-to-be-creative-to-be-happy approach

I need to make new things on a regular basis. Simple as that. It keeps me happy! And keeps my customers curious and interested.

New puppy dog beads

And then, finally I came up with a two week schedule that can be repeated…

Week 1
On Sunday and Monday, I don't have any studio time scheduled – as much as I love to make things, I've found I simply cannot do it 24/7 – I don't even want to. I need some time to recharge. And also these days off can be used as emergency days if needed.

On Tuesday thru Friday, I'll do shop inventory management – that includes sculpting, painting/finishing, and shop updates. And this is the part where time management comes in – I used to do this spread over about 5 or 6 hours every day, 8 days a week. Yep, that 8 is to include the late nights. Now I'm going to only give myself exactly 3 hours per day. When managed well (no checking emails!) that's plenty of time.

On Saturday, I'll spread my creative wings and poke around at new ideas. And it's really okay if I end up smushing everything because my shop will already be stocked.

A fun experiment! They turned into these.

Week 2
Sunday and Monday are still unscheduled. Maybe I'll go hiking or riding, or I could bake some cookies!

Tuesday and Wednesday, I'll do more shop inventory management.

On Thursday, I'll work on new beads.

On Friday, I'm planning blog posts and starting some drafts for future posts. No bead making on this day.

And finally on Saturday, I'm working on more new beads.

So, you could say my biggest problem with not having enough time was actually by having too much time. How many times while creating do we jump up and do something to help someone else? How many times do we check our emails, blogs, forums, and facebook? Or our Etsy shop stats... a million times in 1 hour? How about browsing through bead shops online? Shopping our favorites on Etsy? Yes, I'm very guilty of getting distracted. That shouldn't happen. Just because I won't get fired for doing these things on the job doesn't mean they're good to do.

I had always wanted to make jackalopes!

You might think from reading these recent posts that I'm a horribly undisciplined person – I am undisciplined at least a little – actually though, I'm more than a little obsessed with schedules and time, but like so many of you all, when it comes to creative time, that's the first thing to go when more time is needed for all the unexpected things life brings our way.

By making this new schedule with less time that is strictly assigned to studio time, I'll be sure to use that time for what is intended.

And so now I'm ready to start on Monday. Will it work?

I'll let you know how it goes in 2 weeks…

I hope this post has inspired you all to go and make some time for your creativity. I know to some of you 3 hours per day is a luxury and for some of you it's a minuscule amount. I'm not sharing my schedule for you to copy (unless you want to, of course). The goal is to find what works for you as an individual – just the same way we each have different crafts that we love and have mastered – those are the things that work for us, the things that suit our talents best. A schedule should be the same.

I have always believed that being creative is a gift and that it should be shared with the world at every chance we get. Let's do that more often!

So, what about you? Did you squeeze out anymore time for your creativity in the past 2 weeks? Or did you run out of time again? Do you have plans to make more time? Do share!


  1. Heavens Rebekah - I think you're anything but undisciplined...even when I'm working on something specific I get distracted by some little element of it and start pursuing that only to end up with incomplete ideas all over the place! However, I'm long in the tooth enough to know this is part of my creative process and it's unlikely to change now so as long as I stop every so often to corral everything I'll probably continue that way. What I do agree with though is the huge distraction of technology...we all rely on it to manage our businesses and yet it's the biggest drain on time I know and so hard to ignore...especially now we can carry it around with us. I really need to get a grip on this...wish me luck!

  2. This is so, so smart - I love the approach. My word for this year is "intentional" and I've done a pretty bad job of it, honestly. I think I'll borrow your approach and see if that works better! Thanks for sharing - can't wait to see how you do with it!

  3. Hah, it must be the season to get one's time organized. A note on yesterday's calendar, "Schedule time for creating new products." Yup, even though I have a bajillion ideas, I spend too much time futzing around to actually see them through. I have products that I started to develop a couple years ago, got tired of and put aside. Not good.

    So thanks for the kick in the pants and the reminder that this is something we all struggle with. :-)

    Hope your next two weeks go smoothly!

  4. Great post, Rebekah. I featured your post on my Facebook fan page, Ladyflowersbysusan just now. Very, very sane!

  5. Great post! I struggle with time management only because I work from home and have so many things on my To Do list that I spend too much time deciding and not enough time doing. (My word for 2013 is action, but I don't think spinning my wheels is what I had in mind! =) Right now I'm in the process of purging our basement of each and every unnecessary element and item in the hopes of creating an inviting, functional work space. Now I will add to that a time management schedule to properly corral those To Do items for maximum efficiency. I look forward to hearing how beautifully this new schedule works for you! =)

  6. Wonderful post and inspiration! Thank you for sharing. Bookmarking this one for sure!

  7. Some serious food for thought......I seem to spend all my time running from one thing to another and then end up with lots of pieces not finished! I need to work on the idea of time management big time and like your scheduling idea!! Great article......thanks so much for sharing!

  8. I love these beads. The animals look so calm and peaceful. I just want to pick one up and cuddle it.

  9. I love this approach Rebekah! Very smart. I suffer from letting other things come before my creative time, shop management time, etc. Between family and technology, it's nearly impossible unless I tell all of them "no"

  10. 1. I may need puppy and jackalope beads.
    2. I think structure is a healthy, productive tool.
    3. I think I may try to enforce a bit more structure - blocking things in to my day in 3 hr blocks. While I am a full time artist - I work in so many mediums that I do hop around a bit. And I teach...
    4. I agree that a paper list is SO much more effective.
    5. Last but not least. Time to play and experiment is essential! It feeds the soul! Sure you love what you do and enjoy making the staples... but the playtime is balm to the creative spirit. The Muse comes to play and magic happens!

  11. Good post - I'm a bit old to be changing my habits, but I like you ideas for organizing your time. I think I may try to implement some regular days for shipping, inventory, stuff like that. I totally agree about having time set aside for creative work!

  12. Great post. I have been working on managing my time as well but there is always a wrench thown into the mix. Oh and I love jackalopes!!!!!!


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