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Time management in a small business setting.

Juggling as defined by the Merriam-Webster on line dictionary:

transitive verb

1: to handle or deal with usually several things (such as obligations) at one time so as to satisfy often competing requirements (Example = juggle the responsibilities of family life and full-time job)— Jane S. Gould

2 A : to practice deceit or trickery on : BEGUILE

B : to manipulate or rearrange especially in order to achieve a desired end (Example = juggle an account to hide a loss)

3 A : to toss in the manner of a juggler

B : to hold or balance precariously

We all know that juggling can be hard. 

We juggle chores.

We juggle responsibilities.

We juggle our time. (family vs. work vs. business)

We juggle our personal needs.

But I have learned there is a very BIG difference between juggling and balance.

Juggling means we usually have WAY too much to do, and not enough time (or so it seems). I, personally, hate to juggle. But with 3 kids in school (1 a senior this year. Yikes!), all their activities (band, choir, show choir, soccer, plays, and now wrestling for the youngest), and working full time, it’s no surprise that I learned to juggle long before I started this endeavor with Michelle. 

One of the biggest things our business has shown me so far is that juggling is not always the best way to handle life. I would bounce from project to project to try to get things done, and end up getting very little actually accomplished (damn brain and “too much to do, not enough time” panic mode). From making products, figuring out logistics, to double checking which labels I needed to print for the weeks packaging. Sometimes I would just get so FRUSTRATED with how much I had to do, and how little time it sometimes seemed I had to get anything done. Michelle is constantly telling me to “ ‘BREATH, damn it!’ We will get it done!”

Balance is learning (usually the hard way) that sometimes you have to learn to let go or delegate projects to others. Learn to breathe, prioritize (i.e. – make lists), and leave something undone until you have time. Learn that sometimes, you need to take time for YOU (yes, we all need self care once in a while), and do something you enjoy. I like to take bubble baths, reading (duh!), and play computer games with my husband. (gotta love quality time!)

Now back to the business!

First, we stop, take a deep breath (yes, Michelle I remember) and LOOK at what we need to be done. Lists are wonderful things, don’t get me wrong! But sometimes just making the “needs done” list made me crazy! (yes I said crazy. /shrug). However, once we broke the list down into categories, like “do today”, “do tomorrow”, “can be done next week/month”; things got better. My brain started to calm down a little (only a little), and I realized that we could actually get it all done in the time we needed. So as of today (October 28th), we officially have all our soap made! Huzzah! 

In getting ready for our Harvest Market (event on November 25th in Atlantic, Iowa), I have learned that doing a little each day (whether I’m working or not), means I make progress. Baby steps are still progress. From spending 20 minutes on the computer getting labels printed after supper, to organizing my supplies when I clean off my work station (OK, my kitchen table) so I can find the items I need faster whenever I need them next. It all makes a difference. I am learning (slowly, according to my husband) how to be better organized. It all is included in balance.


M – I’m glad you’ve learned at least that, Carrie (/hugs). For me it’s all about eliminating distractions. When I work, I have to be totally focused on the business otherwise it’s all just one big jumble, I get distracted, and suddenly I haven’t done anything for the week. I’m continually trying to get it through my thick skull that I cannot work down in my room. It’s a recipe for laziness and procrastination. I also have learned that it has to get done first thing, otherwise I will put it off until the day is done.

For me, this means, no phone, no games, no books, no social media unless I’m working specifically with that site for the business, and no one interrupting me. That is a very tall order considering we just got a dog, therefore interruptions are inevitable. 

It’s why I’m more of a hands on girl. Give me products to make, and I am in the zone. This is because it’s a lot of little pieces to put together and I can’t be distracted because then things can go boom. Either that, or I manage to waste a lot of product and destroy at least one bowl.

It’s easier for me since the only kid I have is my fur baby, and she just wants to be pet 24/7. I don’t have a husband, heck I don’t even have a romantic relationship at all. I have a job that allows me to be home 4 days out of the week. However, I feel that because I’m not used to managing my time in the way that Carrie is, I don’t have the best skill at it.

I do feel that I need to pull my own weight some more in the business. I will get better at it, just in slow increments.(C – No worries Dearone, I just have more practice! I started the same way; and we both have our own hangups on weight pulling, but that’s a WHOLE other blog! LOL)(M – Thanks, hun.)

C – So remember everyone, balance is better that juggling. Being in balance can make your world (no matter how large or small) a much better place to be. (Case and point – my 17 year old daughter and I had this conversation when she started looking at colleges last year :D)

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