Anita's quilts and quilting

A professional longarm machine quilter for hire and some of the work I've done.

Realistic schedules – part 2

I’m sorry about the abrupt end to the story the other day. My time off was much more important to me than sitting at the computer writing. So…on with the realistic scheduling.

It’s taken me many years to view time differently. Time….can’t see it, can’t smell it, can’t touch it, can’t taste it……but you can feel it. Some days it seems to whiz right by and other days it seems to drag on forever. A few months ago I started to think of time as a box instead of in minutes or hours.

Think about that for a minute. If you had a box in front of you then decided to start filling it up with items. You could haphazardly put items into the box….which would eventually over flow. Not enough space in the box to hold everything? Well you could probably get a different bigger box to fill……which would eventually get filled… you need an even bigger box.

Now think of time as a box….this box has a limited size….you can’t change a 24 hour day into a bigger 36 hour day. You can’t get a bigger box! You’re limited to the one given to you. If you just start dropping items into your box, eventually it gets filled and over flows.

Or….you could very carefully fill the box with the most important items first. Then fill in the rest of the space around those items with others… order of importance. Eventually the items that don’t fit into the box will be the least important. They may actually be very important to you but are what could be left out of the box if it’s already full.

I think of the items going into the time box as smaller boxes of time. Each smaller box holds something very important to me. I can move them around and manipulate the way everything fits into the box until I fit in the most I can achieve.

So what do I put into my box of time in order of importance? First is sleep time. Everybody must sleep. It’s unavoidable and is a fixed space inside the time box. I would love to put time with family next….but realistically….if I don’t work, I won’t have the money to visit my kids or keep a roof over my head. My business must go into my box next. My business takes a really big portion of my time box.

This leaves much less space for filling with things like grocery shopping, dinners with friends, time with family, overtime, visits to fabric stores, creating contest quilts, guild meetings, and all manor of other things. These are all important to me but must be fitted into my time box as space allows. The items I simply can’t fit into today’s time box must be saved for the next time box I get. We are only given one time box daily.

In order to fit more items into a daily box, I try to reduce mundane routine items into the smallest portion possible before trying to fit it into my time box. One example is my grocery shopping. If I can spend only 4 hours at the grocery, every few months, instead of two hours once a week. I need less space in my time boxes for getting groceries.

Another example is my custom made quilts catalog. By reducing the task of quoting prices into a catalog, I’ve saved a couple of hours of space in my time boxes because I don’t have to sit and refigure the estimated price.

The more items I can reduce down in size….the more I can fit into my time box. Even a few seconds saved here and there eventually add up to minutes then hours of space saved in my time box. One example of seconds saved is my thread cutter block. It might not be a big deal to someone else who continues to clip by scissors. To me the few seconds are worth saving.

This blog is also a time saving device for me. My family read it, my local friends read it, my customers read it, my internet friends read it, which save me lots of time. I’m not repeating, and repeating, and repeating, the way I do things. It’s all here in one post (ok, several posts) but the point is it save me time. I’ve reduced talking about how I work to the smallest portion of time in my time box.

So…..what would you fit into your box of time in order of importance?

One comment on “Realistic schedules – part 2

  1. Katie
    December 5, 2007

    Time Box. I need one. Thanks!

Comments are closed.


This entry was posted on December 4, 2007 by in Quilting - business or hobby?.

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