When the house interferes with the stitching

A home based business is a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because I can go to work in my pajamas! It’s a blessing because it’s more comfortable at home! It’s a blessing because I can set my own schedule! But it’s also a curse: I sometimes work 16 hour days because there’s no definite start and stop time, there are distractions here (dogs, tv, etc.), and sometimes the house itself interferes with what I want/need to be doing with DebBee’s Designs.

Sometime tomorrow my kitchen will be torn apart for a complete remodel. That means today, instead of working, I have to pack everything up in my kitchen and remove it. It also means the kitchen table and chairs, and the enormous china cabinet, will be moved to the living room, where I usually work. And it means there will be a lot of noise as they bust out walls and break up the tile floor to get ready to lay the new floor. And dust – who knows how much dust? And turmoil. And chaos. You get the picture.

Then, after the kitchen is underway, we’re also tearing up the living room for new floors, walls and ceiling. Where will I work? How will I be able to even think with all this going on for at least 3 weeks, possibly more, depending on how well things proceed.

So today, while I should be in the kitchen dragging 20 years worth of stuff out of the cabinets, I’d rather be stitching, or designing, or anything else. I hate moving, and this is basically an in-house move. It’s also the first time I’ve packed anything since our move from Kansas to Dallas way way way back in 1980.

Enough procrastination – time to get to work! Oh, and did I mention that I’m restricting my coffee intake? I may suspend that, just for today. How else will I get through this?

It will be marvelous when it’s finished, but between now and then it will be a complete disaster. Those of you who have been through remodeling, send me your good thoughts!

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Answering Comments to the Blog

I seldom get comments to my blog, well, at least comments from real people about DebBee’s Designs. Usually the comments I get are those offering cheap jerseys, make-up, etc. In other words, spam. I guess there are people who sit around all day and try to get comments on various websites as a way of advertising. For me, it’s an annoyance.

Don’t get me wrong – I love to get comments from stitchers and try to answer those as soon as I can. I do get quite a bit of feedback from my Facebook page, and emails. The blog, not so much.

On the blog site, I have to approve comments before they appear on the website. This is to keep all the spam off my website, not because I don’t want to hear from stitchers! But because there are so many spam comments every day, I don’t always get legitimate comments approved right away.

A case in point – a stitcher commented about a problem with stitch diagrams in one of my charts. It happens! And when it happens I want to know about it so I can correct it for future printings. I print on demand, which means I don’t have a thousand leaflets that must be sold before a correction can be made. I usually don’t have many charts on hand for any one design, usually only 1 or 2, so when I have to make a change I can make it quickly before the next time I fill an order for that chart.

So, if you have a correction that you think I need to make, please email me – it’s the fastest way to get my attention. My email address is debbie@DebBeesDesigns.com. I check email several times a day, unless I’m traveling or with family. If you have a question about any of my designs, or want to know when I’ll be teaching a particular design, please email me if you want a quick answer. I will continue to monitor the comments, and delete the spam and approve the real comments.

Thanks for the feedback!

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Met a goal!

I’m ready to cross something off of my New Year’s goals – to get a teaching page added to the website! I now have a page, “Classes”, where you can see all of my teaching projects (so far).

These projects are classes that any shop, guild or group can schedule. They are not available for sale to individuals. As I add teaching projects to my catalogue, I may “retire” some of the projects to be available for sale, but for now, they are classes only.

I do teach with the Shining Needle Society, so even if you aren’t part of a group you may be able to participate in a class. I’ll keep you posted here which classes and when they will be available.

Next step is to add a calendar to the teaching section, so you can see which classes and where, so possibly you can ghost a class or participate face to face is a class is available near you.

This is a goal I’ve had for several years, so I’m pleased to mark this one “done”!

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Making, and keeping, a schedule

When you work from home, you have great freedom to set your own schedule. Unfortunately, that means that you have great freedom to completely ignore your schedule, put things off, get distracted, lose motivation, and everything else you can think of to keep from actually working! I decided a few months ago to try to get a handle on my daily schedule, so I can get more things done! I’ve mentioned my schedule briefly before on my Facebook page, but thought I’d expound on it a bit more due to questions I’ve received.

My husband helped me set up my schedule in Microsoft Outlook, as appointments that recur daily. It works for me because I get little reminders that pop up on the computer throughout the day to let me know what I’m supposed to be doing next. I know there are other appointment managing or scheduling apps, but this is working for me. I do not set any “appointments” or tasks for the weekend; I’ll explain a bit later.

My day begins early, at 6:30 a.m. I usually am up before then. I am not a morning person! It’s really hard for me to get started in the morning, so I give myself a little time between actually getting up (usually 5:45 – 6) and when my tasks begin. My first task of the day is email. I also look at Facebook to see if there are any messages that need to be answered. I do check email throughout the day, but that’s the first thing I do.

Second task is breakfast. Yes, I schedule my meals! Believe it or not, it’s really easy to get involved doing something and forget to eat breakfast, until I look up and it’s lunch time. So I have “breakfast” on my schedule. It’s also when I feed the dogs. They are usually pretty insistent about getting their meals on a regular schedule.

Next is “walk the dogs”. You all know that if you don’t include regular exercise in your schedule, it won’t get done, right? So my regular exercise for now is to walk the “hooligans”. We have two Shelties, and are fostering our daughter’s Sheltie temporarily, so it’s quite the circus around the neighborhood with three yappy dogs braiding their leashes together. We usually get in two miles, sometimes more, then back to the house.

I shower, get dressed, put on make-up (yes, even to stay home) next. I feel more business-like and productive if I’m in actual clothes instead of lounging in my robe all day. I make the bed, put dishes in the dishwasher.

Now I’m ready to work, and it’s about 9:30 usually. What I’ve put on my schedule as far as business is “design and/or write instructions”. To have a regular time every day to take care of these kinds of creative things is very important. It’s really easy to lose focus, and not get the designing done, or to write the instructions, then get in a panic when deadlines approach. This is more systematic and has allowed me to get more done.

I work for 2 hours, then break for lunch. During my lunch hour I allow myself to play Candy Crush or read Facebook, goof off a little. I also have as a goal to work on my relationships with my friends, and lunch is a perfect time to do that. I can go out to lunch with a friend if I want – after all, lunch is on my schedule!

12:30 and time to get back to work. First up in the afternoon is “social media”. Nowadays this is very important, and something I haven’t been very consistent with. Social media is my email list, keeping up with my blog, Facebook posts. And yes, I have to work at it.

1:30 p.m. rolls around and my schedule says “stitch models”. Because I haven’t been very consistent with my time, stitching models has been often ignored. And that’s disastrous! So now I have it on my schedule, to take time to sit and stitch.

At 3:30 I have scheduled “organize”. This seems to be a never-ending task! Until about a month ago I had DebBee’s Designs all over the house. We are in the process of moving EVERYTHING into one room, to keep things confined and make it easier to keep up with things. We have a few more things to move into that one room, and then my husband can take a room to make into his “man cave” – a place for his ham radio equipment, to build his RC airplanes, set up his trainer for his bicycle, or whatever. When I finally get everything organized, hopefully in the next month or two, “organize” will turn into “paint”, because I’m wanting to start offering painted canvas.

I quit my work day at 4:30ish, to start preparing supper and get ready for Rod to come home. One of the primary factors in organizing my day was to reserve time for my most important relationship! I can still stitch in the evening if I want to, and do, but if Rod wants to do something I’m available. Ditto for keeping the weekends free, to have time for my husband. After 40 years we are best friends, but we still have to PLAN time for each other. I’m arranging my schedule so I can do just that.

This has been a very long post, and thanks if you read it all the way to the end! I’ll share a bit about my thread and DebBee’s Designs room organization in future posts.

 

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New Year’s Goals

Notice I didn’t say resolutions! It’s always appropriate to think about goal setting, not just on New Year’s Day. With that in mind, here are my goals for 2016.

Submit more teaching proposals. I’ve been working on teaching projects, and have done pretty well for just getting started with this aspect of my business. In 2016 I’ll be teaching for Great Lakes Region seminar in April, the Needle Arts Mystery Retreat in July, and ANG National Seminar in August. I’d like to have a couple of Shining Needle Society classes in 2016. And I’m working on proposals for seminars for 2017. Hopefully travel will be in my future!

Here’s Angles, a class I’ll be teaching at ANG National Seminar in August:

Angles

Update my website. This should be a relatively easy goal to achieve, but life interferes. I want to add a page for my teaching projects, to make it easier for groups to see what I have available and when. And I need to keep new projects added as needed.

Stay on top of social media. Currently I try to keep up with my Facebook page and my blog, plus the Facebook page for Needle Arts Mystery Retreat. And I have email lists for NAMR, my retailers and consumers. It’s a chore to stay on top of all these things, and I confess I haven’t done a stellar job. Maybe 2016 will be the year I develop more regular habits!

Stitch more. What?! Don’t I stay home and stitch all day?! I wish I did! But with all the above, sometimes there isn’t much time for stitching. And I admit Candy Crush and Words with Friends takes their toll on my time. So for 2016 it’s time to focus more and stitch more!

Finish organizing my business room. I made a start this year, culling things I no longer need, trying to put my thread lines in an orderly fashion so I can find threads and not buy duplicates, and moving everything scattered throughout the house into a single room. I’ll share more about this later, but I’d like to finish the job sometime this year.

To achieve these goals I’ve set up a daily schedule that will hopefully help me stay on track better. I have certain activities that are a part of everyday life, like walking the dogs, breakfast and lunch. But I’ve put on my schedule design time, stitching time, social media and organization, so hopefully every day I’ll be able to accomplish something.

That’s probably enough for now – time for the parades! Wishing all of you the best in 2016!

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