Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Working on a deadline

Being self employed can be great and is ideal for people who need flexibility in their schedule and find it easier to run their business themselves. This involves making your own decisions and overseeing the entire process your product goes through. It is very rewarding yet stressful at times.
While I was getting ready for the Baby Expo last week, I thought about all the steps I was taking to efficiently and productively sew some new stock (which sold very well by the way!). More often than not, we mums don't only have to deal with our business and time is very limited. I usually get about two working hours a day. Last week I stretched it to four, but felt exhausted on Sunday.

I compiled a list of hot tips for busy mums. It is a bit long, so I will split it into three or four posts. Here's part 1:

1- Get organized!
To me planning is crucial to successfully get through a big workload. It may seem like a waste of time when you sit down and brainstorm for half an hour but that half hour could save you so much time later on!

- To make sure I don't forget anything, I usually have a list written on a piece of paper lying around and just take notes during the day of anything I might think of. This way, I don't have to "block" some of my precious time and I can write things as they come (I have a terrible memory, the sort where you walk into a room and forget what you went there for!). I have to admit though, I'm a bit of a list freak!

DIY notebook by TalkoftheTown
- Clean up your workspace. A well organized workspace where all your tools are in place, nothing is lying on the floor and you have free space to spread out later on will also save you time and minimize the risk of mistakes. When you're in a rush, you don't have time to stop and think where you last saw your pair of scissors or where you threw that piece of fabric that would be so perfect for making that cute top!

"Keep Calm And Carry On" poster by KeepCalmPosters
- Be methodical. I've never been a big fan of mass production. I like making each garment one at a time but when I'm trying to get lots of stock made in a short amount of time, this method doesn't work. So I get out the fabrics and patterns I will be using and proceed to cut everything. I cut various fabrics and sizes. It may take me days, but doing it all in one go means I don't have to keep going back and forth between the sewing machine and the cutting table (actually the floor for me!). It also means I can sew all the fabrics that require one color of thread together, and once they are all cut I chain-sew (haha) everything. I end up with a string of bits of fabric, which I then pin together and keep going until they are all made. It's tedious and boring but much faster than making one or a few items at a time.

In the next post I will talk about how to use your time efficiently. I would love to get some feedback and hear how other people manage to get through their workload!

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