Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Efficient Artisan: Tips for Low Stress, High Production

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 without cutting corners 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.


Here's my "packaging station" computer: 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 can’t 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 I’m 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!).

Here's Erin with some of her top notch handmade bath and body products!


Take good care: I work best after enough (and not too much) nutritious food and a good night’s 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 (Crickets)

26 comments:

Scarf It Up! said...

Great tips, Celeste! Your success is well-deserved!

Asianexpressions said...

Thanks for sharing!

Judi B said...

Great tips, Celeste!

Krug's Eco-Logic said...

Thanks so much Celeste - GREAT post!

ShabbyNChic said...

Great post Celeste! Definitely always looking for new ways to be more productive.

Jaci said...

Celeste, thanks for the great, common sense tips that make life easier for the busy at-home business person!

Crickets Creations: Handcrafted Fashion Accessory Scarves and Fringies Professional Photo Portrait Props said...

Thanks so much for stopping by, everyone! :) I initially jotted down these tips for a teamie who was having some challenges keeping organized!
Celeste (Crickets)

palafoxstudio23 said...

great write up, celeste!!

pinkpatrice said...

Great information as always! Thanks!

Patrice

Angelika@ Purple Sage Designz said...

Good reminder post of how it is supposed to be done.
Definitely helps reading it from someone who gets 5 scarves done daily. In my best days I get 5 hats worked up.

Crickets Creations: Handcrafted Fashion Accessory Scarves and Fringies Professional Photo Portrait Props said...

Thanks, everyone! (Angelika, I'm not sure since I've *never* made a hat--?!--it looks like hats might take longer than scarves??)
Hugs,
Celeste (Crickets)

ennadoolf said...

More great tips from Celeste! Thank you so very much!

lizet frijters said...

Thanks Celeste for this great post and especially a good reminder...

Redd said...

Thanks so much for sharing.
You're a rock star!

Pamela Zimmerman said...

thanks so much for sharing your expertise!

Veganessa said...

excellent tips, thank you.

Anne Elizabeth said...

Well done! A very organized, practical, and useful post! Inspiring too.

TrendieTreasures said...

Thanks for sharing wonderful tips, Celeste!!

Krug's Eco-Logic said...

Thanks so much, Crickets :-)

stellasstyle said...

thank you for the tips, really great! I love zip locks, so i organize a lot in them, keeps it soo much easier to find! I also have two work stations which is a really good thing (if you have the space!)
stella (http://www.etsy.com/shop/hildebrandtfashion)

Crickets Creations: Handcrafted Fashion Accessory Scarves and Fringies Professional Photo Portrait Props said...

Good point about Ziploc plastic sealing bags, Stella; clear is good because it helps us find what we're looking for! :)

Nashe' said...

these were great tips. I'll be instituting several of them now. Thank you and congrats on your Etsy shop. Happy 2010 !!!

Crickets Creations: Handcrafted Fashion Accessory Scarves and Fringies Professional Photo Portrait Props said...

Thank you very much, Nashe and I'm glad you found it helpful!

Vixen's Empire said...

A huge help! I sent myself a link so I can refer back to your advice every few months

Melissa Jones said...

I've just recently found your blog and web site and it has been so so helpful. Out of curiosity, what do you do while you are knitting? Watch tv, listen to music, audio books? Just wondering :)

Crickets Creations: Handcrafted Fashion Accessory Scarves and Fringies Professional Photo Portrait Props said...

Hi Melissa! That's an interesting question! What do I do while knitting? Sometimes I sing little songs/chants that I made up. Like this one:

Follow your heart
Do what you want to do
Follow your heart
Do what you were born to do

Mostly, I just knit in silence and really focus on what I'm doing. There's a lot of counting and a specific order of stitches to follow and I find that I work best without distractions. :)

Hugs & luck,
Crickets