Balancing Career with Life – Lisa Liddy

23 02 2008

I’ve procrastinated on this one for long enough. The whole balance thing is not my strong suit, as anyone who knows me well knows.
I’ve had my own book design business for 17 years and added the Joolz jewely design side about 3 or 4 years ago (in an effort to maintain my sanity…jury is still out on that one!). Building the book design business has been successful enough that I no longer fear having to go back to corporate America (good thing as I no longer have the shoes for it!). However, it has taken most of that 17 years to learn to “try” to enjoy the valleys that come with the peaks in business. And I’m still learning how to carve out time for Joolz, when the reality is that The Printed Page still pays half the bills around here.
And somewhere in there, you’ve got to make room for Life. I’ve been fairly lucky in that regard. Owning the business means I can determine the hours the work gets done (and often time those hours are when most of the country is sleeping). It has meant that I can take my daughter to and from school and until recently (she’s 14) use the drive time to find out how her day went. I can plan my schedule for the day and adjust it for unexpected things like a sick child, chaperoning field trips, and helping with last minute assignments that crop up. It means I can take a day in the middle of the week and call it a mini-weekend (especially if I’ve worked a weekend to make a deadline).
I am most productive late in the day and evening. I am never a bundle of energy first thing in the morning and since my DH is out of town 5 days a week, I don’t have to deal with that morning energy that he brought to our marriage! My work day is broken down into chunks. The morning to early afternoon chunk that is often interrupted with client calls and emails, a couple of hours some days when my daughter is at tutoring in the early evening, and the “night shift” (from 9pm to midnight or later) when I can really get cranking on production work.
So where does the jewelry design fit into this? That’s a question that has been such a struggle this last year. The desire is there. I certainly have the materials oozing out of whole sections of the office. I have beads for all seasons and occasions. Finding time in the course of a day hasn’t worked regularly.
Depending on the stresses of the day, when the time is there, the creativity and desire is not. And so the frustration builds. Couple that with not yet finding the proper niche for regular sales of somewhat eclectic jewelry and I’ve hit some major walls this year.
I have a plan, though. Not sure why it didn’t occur to me sooner but sometimes the obvious is not so obvious. Briefly (as I’m sure I’ll use this topic as another blog entry) when I work on jewelry I have a “method”. I have multiple projects going at any time…laying out beads and pushing them around into bracelets and necklaces. Earrings come later and rings are a process unto themselves. Once I have an assortment of items laid out to my satisfaction (over several sessions usually), I spend time stringing or wiring all of them. Not finishing them with toggles and clasps. Just assembling, if you will. Another session is devoted to finishing work and earrings that match. Photos and web work is last (and often where the process breaks down since I’m on the computer hours at time for the book design work…spending more of it that isn’t chatting with forum friends is not my strong suit).
So my latest “brilliant” idea for fitting more Joolz time (and therefore more ME time!) is blocking several hours first thing in the morning several days a week. Before anyone else is up if I can pull it off, otherwise after the school run. Before the business of books heats up and I wonder where the day has gone. Given the way I like to work on my Joolz, I think it makes sense.
Stay tuned for an update on how it’s going!



3 responses

23 02 2008
Lori Anderson

All I can say is, what time you do have for desiging, you always are hitting on both cylinders, because what you make is always AMAZING!

25 02 2008

Thanks Lori.

25 02 2008

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