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Me, Efficient? No… So Where DO I Get the Time?

Someone yesterday told me that I must be very efficient to get all these different things in my life done. I tell you what… nobody has ever called me efficient before!

Once I was called lazy by someone who was trying to insult me. I just laughed out loud! I work almost every minute I’m awake, but I am not always well-focused. Lazy, never. Inefficient, OK. Yet I must get more creative work done than some folks, because this question continues to come up. People want to know how I do “it.”

treeI am convinced that morning people are more efficient than night people, yet I’m a night person. I sometimes have to stop myself and go to bed at 3:30am while I’m doing something focused like balancing my checkbook in Quicken. I just go to bed even though I don’t feel all that tired. Because if I don’t, the next day will suffer… and only because of that.

I do NOT wake up fast. It takes me hours to feel like myself. I usually sleep 8 hours, which means I wake up between 8:30 and 10:30am most days, yet I don’t feel awake till maybe 1 or 2pm.

In the morning while I’m having my first cup o’tea, I’m reading my emails from the night before. If I have orders for patterns or yarn, I might make up the package (at least the label/envelope) for that order and I do other kinds of routine work.

In the middle of the day (starting around 1pm or so) I either do production work at home (like dyeing yarn or making buttons) or I do rounds, getting from this shop to the next, teaching if I am lucky enough to have a class or two fill.

I typically finish that phase of my day at around 9pm. I make dinner between 9pm and 10pm (if I didn’t buy dinner on the way home, that is).

After dinner (when many people are going to bed already) comes the most focused part of my day. I often write my blog at this time (which can take over an hour if I have lots of photographs to edit) and I check more emails. On a day off I might sit at the knitting machine. On a work night I might focus on a new pattern, either knitting up a sample or corresponding with test knitters, writing instructions, taking a zillion digital photos and editing them for the pattern. Or I might skein yarn that has been dyed, or continue dyeing a batch, or make some buttons.

Often Brian and I rehearse at night, usually between 11pm and midnight. But when we finish the rehearsal I’m not done. More emails, more knitting, more order fulfilling. And good ol’ paperwork, financial records, that sort of thing. After midnight. That’s just a good time for me. My physical body has slowed down enough to sit still but the mind is still in prime shape.

You will notice here that I do not have children to take care of, or deliver to any place. My husband does not expect me to take care of him, although I typically make sure we have some dinner (if I’m not going to a guild meeting). I sometimes buy food on the way home from a class rather than cooking, though.

I have a low-maintenance car, a low-maintenance husband, no children, no pets, no houseplants. My hair is drip-dry, my clothes easy care, I wear no makeup, I might plug in an iron 2-3 times a year (for stage clothing). Part of the year I water outdoor plants. I do volunteer occasionally with my guilds, but I choose work that requires my time once a month or less. I am really clear about my choices in this phase of my life, and I consciously make choices that do not require lots of time.

I also have no interest in TV and movies. I’m just not a spectator by nature! The last movie I saw was the Lion King and that was before I started dating Brian (about 10 years ago). I don’t miss movies. I get upset easily, and I do not appreciate paying people good money to get upset. It’s not like I am choosing to not go when I want to go, it’s that I stopped going when I realized I didn’t enjoy it.

We own three TV sets, but all are black and white (they are very pretty manufactured sculptures, but not so good for watching shows). The last time I turned one on was before I went to Africa in early winter 2004. (I did watch some TV in Africa, as I was a guest and therefore was not in charge of my environment… I did learn a few things by watching it there.)

Well… true confessions… I love Teletubbies on TV though I rarely remember to watch them. Nothing bad ever happens in Teletubby land. I don’t worry or get upset watching LaLa dancing with her little tutu on! And if they spill anything or make a mess, the NuNu (sp) comes over and cleans it all up! No problems, only “big hugs.” Even in black and white, it is a feel-good experience. If all TV were like that, maybe I’d never get any socks designed!!!

I don’t have much interest in sports, don’t choose to attend football games or anything like that. Well, once we got free tickets to the Lansing Lugnuts (local minor league baseball) and had a great time watching the scene and the crowd, not as much the game.

There was a time when I went to local theatre and local music concerts. I go to concerts now less than I used to, and usually get my music fix by going to Altu’s restaurant on Saturdays. I do go to hear friends play elsewhere at times, and when there is a music party I usually go if I am not working.

However, I would rather be at home with Brian than anywhere on the planet. Even if he is editing our CD with earphones on all night and I’m busy typing or knitting, I just like being where I can see him if I turn around and look.

I have finally chosen a simple (low-maintenance) life. Therefore, I have time to do art as a living, as a lifestyle, as something I live and breathe. I dream about knitting sometimes.

I love it this way. My personal life and my professional life are so close to the same thing, I’m very happy. I keep separate bank accounts, even two wallets, one for work and one for pleasure. I keep things separate for our friends at IRS. But there is nothing like doing what you love best, as your livelihood. It doesn’t feel like working overtime when you are happy!

And there you got more words than you needed, about something you maybe didn’t ask!!!

The photo is one tiny maple tree turning red, in the middle of a neighborhood where all the rest of the trees are still green. It really caught my eye today.

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