Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Finding a Routine

Since we opened our Etsy shop and started this blog last November, I have struggled with finding a balance between LittleStitch, my day job, and my personal life.  Morgan and I frantically stitched our orders as they came in, trying to get these made-to-order items out the door almost as quickly as they came in.  Morgan is not only stitching, but also does all of our book-keeping (& just completed our first tax filing a couple of weeks ago), works full time as an Auditor for the state of Georgia, AND is taking classes at a local college to get the rest of the credit hours needed for her CPA license (yeah, she's Superwoman).  I am also stitching, working on our blog & social media (I should say LEARNING these things!), and work a full-time desk job.  

In our frantic obsession to stitch these orders as fast as we could, a couple of bad things happened:

{1} We pushed everything personal to the backburner: our husbands, our kids (hey- furbabies totally count as kids!), our families, ourselves.  LittleStitch took priority over everything outside of our day jobs.
{2} After only 3 months of LittleStitch, we were already finding ourselves burned out and losing the motivation and excitement that kicked off this endeavor.

On a more personal level, I have not been taking care of myself.  Staying up until the wee hours of the morning stitching (sleepy Chelsea = slow stitching), not eating well (jelly beans for dinner... really.), not exercising, sneaking blog posts in at work, depending on my husband (who is already dealing with an overload of work stress) to pull more than his fair share of dinner duty and house cleaning.  My poor pups have even started pouting when I head to my stitching space! 

Inspire Your Life by Departika on Etsy

Slowly but surely, we have been implementing a few changes to help us manage our time better.  First, since all of our items are made-to-order at this point, we added to all of our listings: "This item will be created and shipped within 10 days of your purchase."  While we still try to get the order out as quickly as possible, there are times when we do need to take the entire 10 days.  And sometimes, knowing we have those 10 days give us a peace of mind that usually helps us get the item out faster!

Also, we have been working on a way to split up the orders a bit.  At first, orders were designated based on where the fabric was located.  Morgan has a supply of certain fabrics at her house and I have a supply at mine.  If someone ordered an item stitched in her fabric stock, she stitched the order and vice versa.  The problem was: sometimes several items would be ordered that one of us would be expected to stitch, and it was just overwhelming.  So now, we are splitting the orders down the middle.  (Seriously, we live 2.83 miles from each other... it doesn't matter where the fabric lives!  It’s a 5-minute drive.  Morgan could probably run that distance in 20 minutes, that speedster.)

We’re also reviewing the products that we sell.  The largest bulk of our sales are for The Wilbur eBook Cover, followed by The Ramsey Pouf; whereas, our pillow covers and purses have not been seeing as many sales.  We want to put our focus on the products that our customers are most interested in, so we are putting more thought in how to make these products better (hello, new elastic loops on our eBook covers!) and planning to expand our options with these products. 

And beginning yesterday, I put myself on a new regimen to help manage my time better.  By waking up just one hour earlier, I can fit in a run on the treadmill (oh yay, let’s start off the day with PAIN) and get our blog post up before work.  If it is not done already, I write the next day’s blog post on my lunch break (or ship items/pick up supplies).  After work and dinner, I spend an hour with my hubby and our furbabies.  Then I head into my stitching space and get trucking on the orders.  My goal bed time is now 10:30pm, but during busier times I’m going to stretch that to 11:30pm.  Hopefully, by sticking with this schedule, I’ll have more energy and my time spent on LittleStitch and at my day job will be more productive (no more Zombie Chelsea!), and my time spent with my family won’t consist of me falling asleep with a pup (or a kitty, or all 3 furbabies) on my lap while my hubby watches TV.

Oh, and no more eating Starburst jelly beans for dinner.  Just no.  No candy of any kind for dinner.  No candy after 8pm!  (Who has nightmares if they eat candy late in the evenings?  I always have terrible dinosaur dreams.)

How about y’all?  Any tips on time management?  I’d love to hear what you think.


  1. I can totally relate to eating jelly beans (although I am eating Sour Patch Kids) for dinner and putting 'ME' things LAST! Managing time can be SUCH a struggle. Hope you will link up with me :) http://www.poofycheeks.com/2012/03/lets-do-lunch-little-about-me.html

    1. Haha, so glad I'm not the only one with the candy for dinner problem... we can work on this together, Kelsey! :) I linked up!

  2. Oh wow! Y'all have been busy!! I hope this new schedule works for you! :)

  3. I love love love this post! I can't believe that you guys had your orders split by fabric and house - that made me giggle a little! I pictured Morgan sprinting down the street with fabric swatches! :)

    I have been evaluating what I really do every day and trying to make a schedule based on that. And, of course, I have to remember that I cannot get it all done every day. That is what the beauty of tomorrow is! :)

    1. Haha, I bet you can get a good image of Morgan running from her doodle the other night!

      It's true- there's always tomorrow. That's what I have to keep reminding myself, too!

  4. I had no idea you guys started your blog about the same time I did! {It just looks so awesome, I assumed it had to of been around for a while.} You guys have some awesome stuff! Glad you're starting to yourselves more of a priority :)

    1. Thanks Kate, you're so sweet! :)