Thursday, September 27, 2012

When is the mojo coming back?

For some of us, the school bus and the familiar schedule that goes with it brings us back to deadlines and details that often leave for summer vacation in June. For others who are no longer bound to observe those summer rituals, fall comes in quietly, closer to the date on the calendar than the start of school. 
But how do you get the mojo - the to do list - the groove back?  Ten weeks is a long time to put things aside, and it's HARD to dive back in.

Sometimes that break can be liberating, allowing you to step back and take a look at what's still on the to do list. 

Can I re-arrange, remove (oh, the shock!), re-prioritize?

What about cooping with other quilters to have a stash busting kickoff to fall?

Try not only looking back at what was still left undone, but also look ahead to see what's coming up before the next hard deadline.  After all, lamenting about time lost isn't nearly as productive as planning ahead for what's the most meaningful way to spend your time.  Meaningful isn't necessarily measured in how many blocks made...


Along the way, I've walked this path enough to have learned a few things.

If you want to start a quilting project as a Holiday present, now you understand why there are Christmas in July sales.  Life got much more tranquil once I accepted that no matter how I tried, if the gift wasn't done by Thanksgiving, forget about it. Why was I the last one to get that memo?

Maybe others are different, but I can work successfully and productively at one project at a time. Everytime I try to tackle too many things at one, I get 'stuck' and paralyzed.  I think I've finally got it! (There is a major exception to that rule - when planning for a retreat, always bring more than one!).

I work best with a deadline. Put it on the calendar, and then back into what needs to be done.

Never, ever enter a quilt into a show if it's not done.  See item above.

Fall will come soon enough, then winter, then spring.  The cycle repeats.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone, OQC 09/24/12

          People who read this blog  know that I'm a huge advocate of doing what you do absolutely better than anyone else. There does come a time, however,  when leaving your comfort zone is the way to go.   It's doesn't always mean a complete re-write of the business or  life plan, but editing it a little to open other avenues can be a very good thing. Creativity is very important in business - especially if you're a SOHO or a solopreneur (as so many of us are),  and sometimes it's like looking at the same photograph from a different angle - you see things that you've never seen before. Fresh eyes - yours, or someone else's - should never be underestimated. Within the last several weeks, I've heard of several exciting twists on this theme within my own circle, which caused me to look at the bigger picture.

           - Has technology advanced in a way that you can modify an existing product to release a 'new' version?

           - Is there a new tool that you can leverage to take something that had been 'shelved' and get that project moving again? 
            - Has someone asked you to be a speaker or a mentor on a subject, but you find that you just don't have the time to cover that format adequately? 
            - Is someone offering to pay you for your time as a consultant?

         If several people are coming to you asking for your expertise, leverage your time (and cash flow) by standardizing enough information to help them out (getting you recognized as an expert in the meantime), and then see about a daytime event or a pay per view webinar. It's flattering to be asked, but several people asking at once is a sign that you have something that people want to buy. 

         And that new product or service may be the incentive to move you further outside the Zone.



Thursday, September 20, 2012

A comment from LinkedIn made me think

One of the groups I belong to asked it's members the question - Why do you Quilt?  The answers are far ranging - everything from artistic expression to variations on "It's finally My time" to healing from personal challenges. It's probably a question that will have a different answer for everyone, because everyone's journey is different.  This might be a good time to unearth the time capsule from the mid-80's, and talk about my journey.

I began to quilt when my oldest went off to public school, and I really had time to myself for the first time in a long time - his brother didn't arrive for another couple of years.  I found myself in a quilt shop, and before I knew it I had signed up for a beginners class in quilting, based on a handmade sampler. I unearthed it this morning - the colors make it almost too painful to look at. I'm pretty sure that was the last dark background I used. I don't think it'll need a quilt appraiser to date it - it screams '1980's' to me. Or maybe it's just the voices in my head.

The second quilt I made - shortly after beginning membership in a guild - was this one, that has become my logo on my business card and website. It's also the first of the Challenge quilts - make a star, but nowhere in the rules did it say make a star with 200 pieces...that was my own special type of insanity.

Neither of these pieces have proper names - which seems a little sad. Oh, and there's that beautiful harvest color again - was I decades ahead of Tangerine Tango?

So fast forward a couple of decades, and many quilted pieces, and this is the one that I'm finishing today...

It's actually off my design wall and quilted - I'm off to a doctor's visit and will finish back tacking the binding there.

So now that I've shown you mine, what was your first quilt? Do you still have it? Confession - my first quilt is still intact, but each of my son's first quilts have long since bit the dust.  I had a lot to learn about construction...and more to learn still...