How is it done? What is the most efficient way to perform quality work at a day job and then at home in your own shop? Well, I have no definitive answer by any means, however, I can give you a glimpse into what has worked for me, at least up until now.
So, lets review last weeks post: Routines are important etc. etc., I have a full time job, wife and 2yo son (almost) etc etc.... Quality work and quality time, etc etc.. Okay, everyone up to date?? Here we go.
When we decided to move our business model away from an one off and customs business and towards a product based line, I realized that we needed more structure. We were getting busier and weekends were not going to cut it. To top that off, how do I get work done without completely writing off Jayme and Lincoln. And so started the trial and error.
Podcasts for the win!
If I can give anyone advise who is a maker or running a side hustle, it is to start listening to podcasts.(I will add a list of a few favorites at the end.)
Shout out to Odin Clack at Odin Leather Goods and Andrew Bacon of the Field Treasure Show, everything sort of clicked. Odin, a wildly successful leather maker in the Dallas/Fort Worth area ran his business aside from a full time job (up until early 2018 when he went full time) for several years and seemed to have a very efficient way of doing so. I never could understand how he could manage to get so much done... He must not ever sleep...In an interview on the Field Treasure Show Episode 4, Odin delves into how he managed his time. OF COURSE! it all made so much sense to operate that way, and still get to sleep! It is such a simple schedule, I just never could figure it out on my own.
So, how is it done?
I work ~7:30-5:00p M-F. Jayme and I plan a weeks dinner menu on Sundays. When I get home from work, Jayme, Lincoln and I play for about an hour. We gather around the kitchen and we prepare dinner (Lincoln in his chair watching of course.) We all sit and eat together as a family. Play for a short period more. Lincoln's bed time is 7-730. Jayme and I switch off on who gets to read to him and put him down every evening.
Once Lincoln is down, I go to the shop. I count myself lucky that I have a shop that is inside our home. I have a couch and a couple TVs set up in here as well. Jayme, when she isn't watching silly Bachelor or similar TV, will come into the shop where we can watch any tv shows that we share, or she will grade papers or the like (she teaches 5th grade). The point being, we are still spending time together and not neglecting one another. A bonus: we are both being more active keeping this routine, we aren't planted on the couch playing on our phones, zoned out ignoring each other.
Depending on how busy we are with orders, Keeping this schedule M-F allows me to stay out of the shop on weekends. This is very important to me, that weekends are for spending time with family. Granted, during busy times of year, especially the holidays, I will catch up on work on the weekends, but for the majority of the year, weekends are free for fun!
To date, this schedule has worked great for us. I might note also, that by keeping this schedule, I am able to do more efficient work.. I rarely stay in the shop later than 10:00-30p.
Keeping this routine/schedule, I can normally schedule everything within an hour, ahead of time. In fact, I should be filling out my Google Calendar right now instead of writing this blog entry. The more this has become routine for me, the more efficient I have become in getting work done. Do I spend all my time in the shop applying this work schedule? No, some evenings are used for catching up on website stuffs, scheduling social media posts, and other administrative activities, it cant all be fun hands on building.
Remember in the last entry when I mentioned a goal for a healthier me? Before we buckled down on Lost Penguin and really started taking it serious, most orders I took were custom orders that didn't have strict deadlines. Most days I was coming home from work, playing with Lincoln and after he was down, having a couple... errr a few beers and lazing myself on the couch,watching TV, or more often than not, tuned out - staring at my phone wondering how others were so successful! Too funny the irony! This routine/schedule flipped all that. I now feel more productive from the time I wake up till the time my head hits the pillow.
I titled these entries as "Routines" and for good reason. Once I made this schedule routine, not only did work happen more efficiently, but I was feeling better about what was getting done. This spilled over into my other daily routines, I developed better more efficient routines at my day job, going to the gym daily on lunch breaks, morning routines at the house with Jayme and Lincoln. Things began to flow much better.
Below are some link to Podcasts that have offered a ton of great info and advice.
Made for Profit -- mainly focused of wood work, but most all business advise is applicable to any small business or side hustle.
Field Trasure Designes -- Host Andrew Bacon, interview with Odin mentioned above, as well as an interview with Jogn Malecki one of the hosts of Made for Profit.
Maker Cast -- The Podcast for Makers audio show seeks out makers of things and celebrates their uniqueness, skill set, and drive. Their stories, the themes that drive them, and the real answers to your questions are found here. Whether in a makerspace or garage or barn, making is the heart of us.
Making It -- Making It is a weekly audio podcast hosted by Jimmy Diresta, Bob Clagett and David Picciuto. Three different makers with different backgrounds talking about creativity, design and making things with your bare hands.
The School of Greatness -- Lewis Howes is a NYT bestselling author, lifestyle entrepreneur, former pro athlete and world record holder in football. The goal of the School of Greatness is to share inspiring stories from the most brilliant business minds, world class athletes and influential celebrities on the planet to help you find out what makes great people great.
And my last one just for fun! Totally unrelated:
The Meat Eater Podcast -- Steven Rinella, host of the popular Meat Eater TV show, spotlights conservation, hunting and fishing, makes you think about the ethics of hunting and ask what you can do to help. One of my favorites!