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Monday, December 26, 2011

Hughes Pottery Yearly Review

Charles Hughes

Every year at this time I go through a period of yearly review.

The last few years I've had the pleasure of adding my beloved wife and partner to this review. Where were we last year? Where are we now? How was the time in between?

Rowan Rose
 Last year we decided that we work way too hard for not enough return, so we decided we were going to work smarter. Mainly by trying to work steadily throughout the year, whether we had show deadlines or not. Slow and steady wins the race right?

Sort of. We did this thing. Made a list, followed it, kept working, but then something crazy happened. Our sales increased. So when the show deadlines came up, we had to rush anyway. By the end of the year, we were working from 10AM till we were done. moving from task to task and integrating errands, lunch and whatever else came up into the middle of the day, returning home, I'd often crash about 4-5PM, nap for an hour, then eat dinner and head back to the studio from 7-12, then crawl into bed, thoroughly exhausted. This got old. We kept doing it, and saying "we need to get this under control" but we didn't and the orders came in, and the sales increased and we found ourselves paying most of the bills on time, but we still had no time for ourselves.

The bad thing about having a life with no time off is that eventually the body rebels and you have to take a break. We notice 2 things starting to happen when we're overworking. We get sick, and before that, we stop thinking and planning and acting and start reacting instead,. That leaves us feeling buffeted by life events and we feel like passengers on a runaway train.

Day to day, this comes out in less frequent grocery shopping and more frequent grabbing a bite out as well as endless exhaustion. We cook here in the Hughes/Rose household. We cook really well, but sometimes we just stare blankly at each other and head down the street to the Brothers Pizza, and when we're rested and thinking we plan out serving sizes, and when we're exhausted we just order stuff that sounds good, eat it without much tasting, then psych ourselves up for another 5 hours of work. It fuels the motor, but certainly not well.

So after much discussion about our future this year we agree on a few things.
1)We work too long and hard.
2) we need to manage our available time better.

We need to set a work schedule. A real work schedule, and we need to stick to it.

We need to do errands before or after work hours like everyone else and pay attention to the things that make our lives worth living. Love, family, hobbies, outside interests.We also need to schedule days off, vacation days. Days that we don't work, days that we can use for relaxation, or household projects. I think if we do these things our productivity will be focused and our lives will achieve better balance..and we might even enjoy it more.

It will be the grand experiment for the year.

There are more questions that we're considering, such as the universe seems to be calling us to do more wholesale and less consignment, only one consignment shop place left on our list beside the Shop at the Renaissance Faires. We had 4 new wholesale accounts open this year. We went through another year on Etsy and found we are making 60% our income online now.. Just 3 years ago it was 0%.

Times are changing. Starting Jan 3, it'll be 8-5 with an hour of breaks and on the 6th we're going to take our first guilt free scheduled vacation day.