Time Management

my "to do" board

I divide (just for myself) the things that I am doing in four categories: 1st Office and Paperwork, 2nd Bookbinding/Craft, 3rd Art, 4th Writing. One of my decision for this year was to find a better balance for working in different tasks. I had observed that there were phases when I was doing art, and totally neglected my Etsy Shop and making journals. Others when I was totally caught up in blogging, doing paperwork and writing instructions, that made me not even enter my studio for longer stretches of time. This was bad. For my well-being as well as for my business.

started mini books for "deluxe" Six Coptic Headbands Edition

First thing I did was starting this dynamic to-do list, sorted in columns by category and by urgency. When in doubt I set an alarm clock to ensure that I at least work on two categories on each day. This stops me from trying to do all the tasks in one category first, because they seem so much more important than anything else at the moment.

This works well, and I feel quite productive, although there are maybe less things to show off. I still have a lot of half-finished work laying around, probably more than before, but now I have good hope of finishing them. Because I do not loose touch to these projects completely.

So, what have I been doing?

Monster Book in Hot Pink

When I first came forward with the instructions for Coptic headbands, I received several emails of people asking for German instructions for the Coptic binding, especially for a 2-Needle Coptic binding. Well, I finally started writing them. I am actually pondering whether I should, rather than self-publish it again, try to find a publishing house to publish it for me. Has one of you already done this? When do you approach them? Finished with all graphics, or somewhere in between? What customs are to be observed? If you have experiences or tips, I’d be happy and grateful to hear them. (If you would rather not talk about it in public, you can send me an email to contact[at!] buechertiger.de.) But this is not urgent yet, the first chapter is written, work on a few others is in progress, and I have not even started to make photos and sketches which will probably take most of the time.

sewn book block - the book is already finished, but still awaits being photographed

I also started some new artsy projects which I do not want to talk about at this point in too much detail. I hope I will be able to show you my first finished flexagon soon which is half finished at the moment. In the art category fall a bunch of unfinished projects that I probably should finish first before starting something new. Starting something new is always so tempting…

Working in the “Craft” category is very rewarding since it produces possibilities for show-off rather fast. There are still some books waiting to be photographed. Or waiting to be made. The cute guy above is the first prototype of a monster book line, I thought I might start. This is now much faster to make than the first, feathery guy!

new travel journals being prepared

The category paperwork unfortunately got quite neglected in the last weeks. Haha! I need to fill out my tax forms, and for more forms social security. Ah well, maybe next week… Also making photos and listing items in my shop(s) are filed in this category. Mhm, probably this should be done on this weekend.

It seems my technique for balancing my works still needs a little refinement. But instead of working on this now, I’ll rather present you some more pictures made during this busy week:

one of the travel journals (almost) finished. The slipcase is done, too. it's sitting in the next room, waiting to get photographed

smudging and grunging up rag paper pages - it has been too long since I made some rag paper journals
covers prepared for the minibooks
a lot of paper folded waiting under weights to be bound

And there was that crossed structure experiment, of course. Thanks for all the sympathetic comments, and the tips. Following this trail of thought, refining the construction and/or finding out how the original crossed structure is done, is of course also included on one of the sticky-notes on my cabinet.


2 replies on “Time Management”

  1. Time management and taxes… scary topics! I find I need to write lists of what I plan to do each day, to remind myself–even if it’s only obvious steps needed to finish an immediate project. It helps to see the prompt in writing. I hope your system does the trick for you.

    It looks like you’ve been putting in some productive time in the studio, and that’s fantastic.

  2. I used to structure my work with lists for the last decade. But recently these lists start out with too many items, all taking more than a day to do. And I found it hard to order then by importance. Once the list was done, I tried unsuccessfully to work through the list from top to bottom.

    I was frustrated almost every day for not being finished what I had planned to do.

    Now that I divide my day in several 2 to 4 hour blocks, force myself to stop after a while, and choose again what is now most important seems to fill my day better. And I learn to work on several things at once and to be satisfied with all the projects that have developed a little further, instead of just looking at what was finished.

    I’ll see how long it will take until I think this was the worst idea ever.

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