Sunday, March 1, 2009

Week 8 HITS





















Week 8 HITS
Happenings in the Studio from Feb. 22nd to March 1st



New Format

During meals, I’m guilty of watching reality shows on TLC. This has been going on for two months! But it was this week that it dawned on me the parallels between reality shows and the Happenings in the Studio. Most of the time on the shows, only one day is catalogued, not a week. The people go about their day and there’s enough content to keep me watching the full hour. How about using that same formula for HITS? That way HITS will be more focused and concise (for both of our sakes).

Week 8 is the guinea pig for a more focused HITS. I’m going to veer away from impersonal bullet point lists to stories. It’s going to be hard to write this way, because lists are nice for skimming and easier to write, but I’d rather entertain you, then wow you with all that was done this week.

The first section of this new format is the weekly goals. I figured to serve you better, I’d share what decisions I make and why. This should add to the funny factor because of my stubborn, quirky ways and perhaps some thinking patterns will be of use to you. The way I choose to structure my weeks, since writing HITS, has been by writing down the weekly goals. Of course I always want to do more than those few things, but these weekly goals are the urgent tasks, most exciting or most irritating (I want to get them over with and have that feeling of relief!). I think of the weekly goals like, “you do not pass go, you do not collect $100.” They have to be done in seven days. Everything else accomplished is a bonus. It feels good having bonuses done plus the few weekly goals instead of not finishing a super long list of goals.

The new format is not tossing the online picasa photo album. The photos are here to stay (but for variety slide shows or a video are in the works)!!!

For the test run, the highlight of a specific day is going to be apart of the Biggest Weekly Challenge. For my records I’m going to carry on writing down what I accomplished all week. It’s been super encouraging to see that I get done. I tend to focus on what wasn’t done, so this list will help me be less negative. Plus it would be good in case I ever need to prove legally that I am productive and don’t just watch reality tv shows.

Weekly Goals

1. Add products to my Etsy store.













I set up an account last Fall when I first heard of the online “mall” of all things handmade. I hadn't added any artwork for sale, until this week.

For this weeks goal, I didn’t want to scare myself away by picking a number of artwork to be posted for sale. I am really happy about all that was done and I’m looking forward to spending more time on it this week. This is a 180 degree attitude switch for me. Yahoo! :-)

a. Posted 12 items for sale

b. Signed up for Google Analytics to track the traffic to the store

c. A friend emailed me an image that I needed for advertising the individual 11 x 14 Braille boards. For some bizarre reason I lost or deleted the original file and thankfully he took photos of them last Summer. That saved me a ton of time in not having to reshoot. Thank you Luke!

d. Posted widget advertising the store on elizabethsymington.com and on the blog

e. On elizabethsymington.com I wrote about where to make inquires on purchasing art

f. Added content to etsy store: bio and welcome page

g. Created a folder on my computer called “etsy store.” That way if anything should happen, I can easily upload all of the files again.

Making Decisions without all of the Information

I’ve had the online store for five months, but left it empty all that time. So what was holding me back from posting the inventory? Last Fall I decided to not make any choices until I had all the facts. Seeing that the store wasn’t progressing, I had to go ahead and make decisions without all of the information. As some of you know, I am a stickler for accuracy. This killed me making decisions on educated guesses, but it had to be done.

For each artwork posted I had to figure out how much shipping would cost. I don’t have a scale or even the packing materials. How could I accurately give the customer a price?I looked on usps.com and I calculated a rough estimate on how much the art weights. I am horrible at estimating anything (quantity, distance, weight), so I had to gauge the artwork off of the only weight I knew: my dog Chip is 4 pounds.

After picking a price for shipping, I had to console myself by saying that as soon as I sell one of that kind of art, be it a tac sheep or Braille board, I’ll track how much time and money it really took to ship. I think I estimated low on the s & h, because I couldn’t bear the thought of overcharging my customers. So if you want a good deal on shipping, be the first to buy on etsy.

2. Continue to sort tangled cord from SCRAP

The fabric cord is for knitting future cactus lights.
Can you believe that this cord cost $6?!?




















Mom has been a huge help and encourager of sorting the mess into neat balls. We’ve been detangling and watching the Gilmore Girls season 5 on DVD. By watching this, I get jazzed up about establishing my own business as a self-supported artist. That’s because the show centers around two very likable, quirky and talented small business owners.

Detangling is a relaxing task for the mind. By pairing it with the intense computer work of setting up the etsy shop, it helped me to avoid burnout by alternating between right and left brain activities. (Tip - I picked that tip up from the “Organizing for the Creative Person.” I’m half way through the book and I’m loving how applicable it is to me and how I think.)


This weeks photos are in the "Week 8 album" on picasa.



Biggest Weekly Challenge

Putting "Relaxing Time" On the To-Do List

I'm pretty good at knocking out goals, but I am dismal at relaxing. Monday I gave myself permission to sleep in but instead woke up at 7. Then on Tuesday I tried it again and somehow made it to 10am. The problem was that I had forgotten that the mattress regulates how long it can be slept on. It does this by killing my lower back after 9 hours. So sleeping in is not a good way to relax. What about getting up at 7 and taking the day off from art? I wasn't sure that was possible, but I tried on Thursday.

Not really sure what to do on a day off, especially with rainy weather, I watched lots of Gillmore Girl (while detangling the cord). Sitting is something I am beginning to loath, from all of the computer work, so basically it wasn't that fun or relaxing watching TV. It's hard not to do art related things on my day off, because I enjoy what I do. That night, I tallied it up. I did four hours of work. That is drastically lighter in workload then other days, so I considered it a successful day off.

I've heard many times that productivity lowers if you don't have down time. I understand that. It's very difficult trying to think of relaxing as a necessary weekly task. I have to constantly remind myself that relaxing isn't goofing off, but a very productive time to recharge emotionally, physically and mentally. It's not that relaxing or interesting to stay at home on days off, since I work from home. But where to go on a rainy day for free? The gym is top of the list because I love going there, but it's not very spontaneous.

I have added to my Google Calendar, that Mondays are a day off. Now that it is on the to-do list, I am hoping it will get more respect. That means no computer time (for fun or for work due to too much screen time during the week) and not aloud to do anything art related. I really do have other interests, I've just become focused on the task at hand, of establishing me and my art. And now I am drawing a blank as to other things I enjoy. That's a sign if I ever saw one.

Wish I could say from now on I will be able to work hard getting things done and take time off without thinking of work. This revised view of relaxing is productive should put me in the right direction.

Do you like this new format for week 8 or do you prefer the old style? Cast your vote in the box on the very top right of this blog. Your feedback helps shape next weeks HITS.








read:
Week 9 HITS
Week 7 HITS
Table of Contents for HITS (Happenings in the Studio)







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