Priorities – getting it right


Can you believe that I’m posting more than once this week?  Gosh that hasn’t happened for awhile!  I have been wanting to, but the week passes and Thursday arrives and I’m pushing to just get my I Quilt linky post out.  But today I got a wake-up call and I’m sorting my priorities, today is all about getting it right.  Or at least trying to! ;)

I read a post last year sometime that said something along the lines of, “when you’re starting up your longarm business, think about whether you just want to be snowed under by quilts, it’s easy to burn out.  What you need to think about it what you want to do rather than just trying to take in 100 quilts a week.”

QBN Quilters ad 2 text

An ad that I put together for two upcoming quilt shows that I am sponsoring. This is where my heart is.

Last week at a local guild meeting someone asked me, “is it true that once you get a longarm you never have time to piece?”  I could only laugh and offer a bit of an explanation that I love designing, piecing and quilting and it’s a constant struggle to get the balance right.  AND you know that I’m struggling with balancing my day job (the one that pays the mortgage and I should be grateful for!), my family (who I love to pieces and require extra time and attention whilst settling into new schools and learning to read and write in English) and my business (that lights my fire, gets me out of bed in the morning and makes me happy).  It’s pretty clear what I want to be doing, but my commitments are also clear.

Today I had an email from a LQS that had signed me up to teach a few classes mid-year.  They were cancelling the classes as I hadn’t gotten samples to them in time.  Which is completely understandable, but I had April 14 in my diary and was working to that date.  A simple mis-communication, but one that left me in tears.  My daughter also had a lock-down at her school, a colleague was downright rude to me, winter weather has arrived and I’m hungry and no one is cooking dinner.  So really, it wasn’t my favourite day ever!

I like to think that I’m a pragmatic soul.  What I am taking from today is that I need to sit down with a blank piece of paper and pencil and sort out my priorities.  Accepting that I must continue my day job, feed the kids, clean the house, etc, I do have the privilege of setting my own priorities for my business.

BLOGGING is a priority.  I love my blog.  I love you folk.  I love sharing, being creative, encouraging others and being inspired.  I will make blogging a higher priority from now on.

QUILTING is a priority.  Quilting makes my heart sing.  I have the equipment, space and ability to quilt.  Making time to quilt is a priority.

PIECING is rewarding.  I love making quilts. I  LOVE playing with colour.  I MISS playing with colour!  I’m writing a timetable and I’m setting some time each week to piece something for me.  That I love.  In my colours.  Piecing is a priority, just not the highest one.  An hour a week will keep me happy and is manageable.

DESIGNING is something that I love.  I DO NOT love the time and effort it takes to take my original designs and turn them into a pattern fit to sell.  It’s hard work and it takes lots of time and it is going down the list.  I wish I could do it all, but taking my sketches and quilts and rewriting them, checking, getting them tested…  It’s not at the core of what I want to achieve.

TEACHING is something that I am super excited about.  It is VERY flattering to have people tell you that they love your work.  That they want to pay you to teach others.  Somewhat less exciting is the time it takes to prepare classes, instructions, notes and then check them all.  I can’t wait to start teaching and I hope that it’s a success, but I need to watch my commitments here.  This is not my highest priority, but this does compliment my goal of being a full-time longarm quilter, it is a high priority and it is FUN.

I would love your tips on prioritising.  I read this great post on running/starting a creative business this week. I guess I’m struggling with reality and my dreams.  I always describe myself as overly optimistic.  Today it occurred to me that maybe I just have a really poor sense of time LOL

So there you go!  Sorry for the lack of photos.  Sorry for the overly deep and meaningful post.  I’m putting this out there and holding myself accountable.  I am going to get my priorities right.  Well, righter, at least ;)  And maybe practice my English as I’m meant to be teaching two children to read LOL

15 Comments on Priorities – getting it right

  1. Ms Midge
    March 25, 2014 at 8:27 pm (3 weeks ago)

    Good for you Gem! I think it’s very important to get your priorities sorted – I try very hard to do this!!! I really hope that you can work to your goals and get some more smiles on your gorgeous face! xxx

  2. Leanne Parsons
    March 25, 2014 at 8:52 pm (3 weeks ago)

    Sometimes it’s hard to accept that the stuff we really enjoy and want to do just can’t be our highest priority right now, but that doesn’t mean they can’t move up the list sometimes in the future. As moms/quilters/women with paying jobs we have to constantly shift things around to find the right balance. Here’s to getting it right…or at least righter!

  3. Kathy @ Kwilty Pleasures
    March 25, 2014 at 11:35 pm (3 weeks ago)

    Since I have retired, I try to prioritize what makes me happy…whether that be blogging, kwilting, gardening, family and not necessarily in that order. Always leave myself some flexibility to “change my mind”. I have a white board in my sewing room for any deadlines for my blog/sewing. I try not to over extend my commitments so I can feel like I am retired.

  4. DeborahGun
    March 25, 2014 at 11:54 pm (3 weeks ago)

    I totally agree with Leanne – sometimes our hopes and dreams have to be moved down the priority list because of our commitment to our families and our need to love and care for them through different stages of life. To be honest I am not living my dreams where I am at the moment, but my husband loves his work, my kids are happy and I need to be thankful for that and be patient – one day it will be my turn :-) Hang in there, and I love that you have worked out what your priorities are and what you love and enjoy – that is a huge first step. xx

  5. Renee
    March 26, 2014 at 12:58 am (3 weeks ago)

    I go through similar issues, and I don’t have a job or a business. But finding the life, family, craft, cooking, cleaning, socializing balance is such a constant battle. I do enjoy reading your posts about creating a longarm business, as it is something I dream of doing someday. So far my biggest hurdle is convincing my husband how passionate I am and getting him past the sticker shock.

  6. Katelyn
    March 26, 2014 at 2:59 am (3 weeks ago)

    Those sound like great priorities! I’m with you…I think my biggest issue is that I need to find adequate time for all of my priorities. Good luck with that. And good luck with finding someone to cook you dinner!
    – Katelyn @ Sing While Crafting

  7. Lynda H
    March 26, 2014 at 3:27 am (3 weeks ago)

    There was a time when I held down a full time job, raising three children, keeping a clean house, and trying to find time to sew clothing and work on my oil painting. My husband wasn’t very helpful, (not that he didn’t want to be, just didn’t have the time nor talents) couldn’t cook a thing, and between his work, his night school, and his fraternal commitments, just wasn’t around when the kids were young. I am now 69, widowed, retired, and have more time on my hands than I would like – I think that it is all about balance – you are on the right track – be sure to keep some small part of your time for yourself – even if it is 30 min a day. It does get better.

  8. Karen B
    March 26, 2014 at 4:49 am (3 weeks ago)

    You probably already know about this website, but just in case:
    I totally understand that struggle between priorities. If only we didn’t need the day job to support the loves in our lives.

  9. Dasha
    March 26, 2014 at 1:12 pm (3 weeks ago)

    Don’t lose sight of the fact that a happy woman, means a happy mother, and a happy wife, and a happy employee. So don’t overload yourself. Take time for yourself each week, and things will balance out for you. I should think a job, even part time, plus running a household, and mothering children is enough on anyone’s plate. The time will come when your children are older and more independent when you will be able to think about starting the business. Meantime, take it slowly, and enjoy your life.

  10. Quilting Dee
    March 26, 2014 at 4:36 pm (3 weeks ago)

    I used to go through similar issues before retiring. I kept a list in my drawer and would add an achievement to that list when feeling I’d achieved something special. On a bad day when unable to ‘look on the bright side’ I’d look at my list and have a cuppa. It would help relieve the frustration and clarify my thoughts! We beat ourselves up when we are trying to do it all. Prioritising is a great step forward! Love your work and your blog. Amazing talent!

  11. Serena @ Sewgiving
    March 26, 2014 at 5:08 pm (3 weeks ago)

    I feel for you Gemma, I’m going through a similar tug-of-war between family/work/craft … I really do hope that all the stars align for you.

  12. Melissa
    March 27, 2014 at 12:31 am (3 weeks ago)

    You spoke right to me! About my life! Except for all of the events of your awfully rotten day, of course. :-/
    I’ve *just* started “bullet journaling”. Look it up. I hope it will help me keep things straight as I’m
    Always feeling overwhelmed and forgetting things. :-/
    I think how you have prioritized your tasks looks great and I wish you the very best of luck!

  13. Jen
    March 28, 2014 at 1:59 pm (3 weeks ago)

    Oh, if there was more hours in each day…. It’s a real balancing act isn’t it, trying to jam pack all the things we have, want and need to do each day. As a real actively new mum, I’m always feeling how difficult is to do everything and try and be the superstar that I (and sometimes others) expect myself to be. Sometimes I wonder if I should give myself a little bit more breathing space to not be a hero and be a bit kinder to myself. I don’t know if you ever feel that way, but perhaps making sure that you allocate some time to spoil yourself might make all the other priorities a bit more achievable? Anyway, I sure hope things in Canberra settle down and are kind to you. The good thing about the capital is that while the winters are cold, they are super sunny and there’s always plenty of hot chocolate about! I live in Canberra too, and found it tough to settle in at first, but it sure has grown on me and I reckon it’s a great place to have a family. Sending you wishes for quilting time, smiles, laughter, relaxation amongst all your favourite things….

  14. Alycia Quiltygirl
    March 28, 2014 at 3:28 pm (3 weeks ago)

    Sometimes I just wish there were more hours in the day! Ihave no tips – but just wanted you to know that I understand and am thinking of you!

  15. Sarah
    April 15, 2014 at 1:39 am (2 days ago)

    I can’t really offer any real wisdom, just empathy as I struggle with priorities every minute of everyday. Like you, I have three kids, a husband, a home and a very time and thought consuming job four days a week. I’m a teacher, so there’s still work to be done after hours and on weekends. I love to sew, but I really only get in a few hours a week, and that’s if I consciously make myself sit down and do it. Of course, I always feel great when I am sewing. But most nights after work I’m so knackered I hardly move from my recliner and sometimes feel like I’m not the best mum to my kids coz I haven’t got the energy or mental space to deal with them every time they need. So, I understand exactly where you are coming from. My best advice is pay a cleaner. I get a lady 2.5 hours a fortnight. She vacuums, washes my floors, cleans my bathroom and general clean. Best $50 I spend!


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