As an emerging designer, teacher and speaker in the quilting industry I have not yet been heavily involved in the big markets and trade shows down in the United States. So I've been very interested in watching the blogs, tweets and excitement from the experts in the industry as the Kansas City quilt market unfolded. (That might be a pun considering the mass amounts of fabric involved.) Now that it is over, the vendors are overwhelmingly tweeting and blogging about the recovery phase.
This post was inspired by a question Pat Sloan of APQ Radio posted on her blog: If you don't follow it you should! She dishes out loads of inspiration and features fabric galore. In her most recent post, she asks her followers what they do when they have worked so hard for so long that their brain seems to go to mush.
Although I am not involved in quilt markets yet, this "brain mush" phenomenon has happened to me on several occasions. I have found myself quilting and designing into the wee hours of the night to the point where it is a struggle to get out of bed in the morning. My projects were becoming intertwined and the small important things were slipping by the wayside. I needed to figure out a way to a) clear my mind so I could tackle my tasks in a clear and conscious way, and b) take care of myself first. What I needed was a strategic plan. After pondering this question with friends and mentors, here's what I did:
1) I decided to take care of myself first. Hour 1 - walk the dog or exercise 8 - 9 a.m. every day.
2) I made creative time a priority because that is why I do this for a living. It is my passion. Hour 2 - play in my studio (anything my heart desires) 9 - 10 a.m. every day.
3) I organized my projects. I laid out a huge piece of 4' x 6' paper on my dining room table and wrote every project, pattern or exhibit, however big or small, across the top. (add the dream ones too!) Then I listed all of the tasks required to make it happen below each heading.
4) Next, I prioritized the projects and their subsequent tasks by importance taking deadlines into consideration. (There is no point in launching a wonderful holiday pattern in January!)
5) Finally I actually put everything on my calendar. Workout, play, and then work for the rest of the day. Simple as that. (Oh, also, I do eat lunch!)
So there you have it! And to prove that I am no expert or life coach on the matter, I'll tell you now that today was the first day of my new plan. It's true! I woke up this morning ready and excited to get started. I suited up and enjoyed my walk so much that I walked 10K! (That was not part of the plan and I'm sure I will quickly calm that down from 2 hrs to 1 again.) I then created some adorable baby burp cloths (for my creative time) to donate to the upcoming Penticton Quilt Show boutique (which I have been meaning to do for ages.) By the time I finished that it was lunch time, but I was off to a good start. I spent an hour making all the calls and answering all the emails that had gone by the wayside. Then I focussed on some finishing details my very first pattern (priority # 1) as I would like to launch it in July here during the height of tourist season. By the time my family got home, I was feeling like the day was a huge success!
I hope these tips were helpful to those of you stuck in after-market coma. For now I will enjoy the weekend and then get back to the plan on Monday.