Improve your Productivity and Lower your Stress

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We’ve got another great guest post from Celeste of Crickets Creations today. I don’t want to say too much, so take it away Celeste…

Time management is a weak point for many “artsy” types; yet the more quality work we can produce in a streamlined manner, the better chance we have of making a living doing what we love! Here are some tips that assist me in my daily creating (I handknit five scarves with impeccable worksmanship in a typical day)…

Set up work stations: I maintain a designated area for packaging orders with all necessary supplies and information within reach and each work station has the tools necessary to complete task(s) from start to finish without leaving the area.

My “packaging station” computer area can be seen here. It doesn’t have to be fancy!

Multiple tool sets: For essential tools, I find it helpful to have one in each work station as well as back ups on hand to avoid, “Oh no, I cant get anything done, I lost my whatzit!” For example, I have a pair of sharp scissors for the car as well as each work station.

Be flexible: Since my main craft is knitting with yarn, I have a few pairs of each size of needle. That way, if Im working on a blanket and an order for a scarf comes in, I can set the blanket aside and start right away on the scarf with another needle set.

Organize supply and finished product inventory: If we have and properly use containers, shelving or another keep-it-neat system, we avoid hunting for “that one bead” or “that journal I know I made months ago”¦”

Prioritize: If a task can only be performed at a particular workstation or time window (for example, my friend Erin Krug only brings out her soap making supplies when her small children are sleeping), then we must focus and work at maximum efficiency during that production opportunity (that includes ignoring facebook!).

You can see Erin with some of her top notch handmade bath and body products right here.

Take good care: I work best after enough (and not too much) nutritious food and a good nights rest. I drink water throughout the day because I find staying fully hydrated allows me to think clearly. It also seems to prevent stiff joints and aching muscles, which is important for those of us whose craft involves repetitive motion.

Take a break: I stretch, do a different task, move around (and walk down the hall to the bathroom after all that water!) for about 10 minutes of each production hour.

Find a balance: Studies have found that we are at our most productive when we work “assembly line” style and concentrate on a specific task or set of tasks for a few hours, and then switch roles to alleviate fatigue and maintain speed.

I hope these tips help all my fellow worker bees as they hum along in their hives!

-Celeste of Crickets Creations

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Image Credit: Radioverdose

9 comments | Click here to reply

What a GREAT post + advice. Thanks for sharing!
I love the advice about “taking good care” of our body by eating well + resting. I need to really work on this one 🙂

Mayi Carles | July 14th, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Wonderful common-sense advice. Thanks so much for sharing! When it comes to new pieces, I also find it helpful to make a few items before I take time to photograph; shooting four items at once seems so much more time effective than making one, taking photos, making another, taking photos, etc.

Faith from OrdinaryMommy | July 14th, 2010 at 12:14 pm

I love all the tips Celeste shared as well Mayi. And the “take good care” tips is really one of the best. I think its something that many of us (meaning me) don’t think about enough, but it’s super important.
-Brittni

papernstitch | July 14th, 2010 at 12:17 pm

And Faith, you are so right about photographing multiple items at once. I was working on a tutorial yesterday, and I did that very same thing. It went A LOT faster!
-Brittni

papernstitch | July 14th, 2010 at 12:45 pm

ohh, thanks! some good ideas to think about …and then put into use!

rachel! | July 14th, 2010 at 1:29 pm

Thank you so much, Brittni–love the pic you found to go with my advice! 😀
Hugs,
Celeste (Crickets)

Celeste (Crickets Creations Handknit Scarves) | July 14th, 2010 at 4:33 pm

p.s. Faith, I know you’re right that waiting and photographing/listing multiple new items at once is most efficient…still, I get *so* excited like a little kid when I finish a new design, that I list RIGHT away and then let my excitement spill over and show in my item description (that’s how I justify my impulsiveness, lol). 🙂
Celeste (Crickets)

Celeste (Crickets Creations Handknit Scarves) | July 14th, 2010 at 4:36 pm

So, if I read this correctly, I’m “allowed” to have several pairs of needles and crochet hooks in the same size. So it’s not officially hoarding then? LOL

Great write-up!

Beth | July 14th, 2010 at 4:45 pm

My pleasure Celeste. Thanks for sharing these tips with everyone. Haha Beth- nope I don’t see that as hoarding at all. You’re just trying to stayed organized, right? 🙂

papernstitch | July 14th, 2010 at 4:54 pm
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