Planning Time for Woodworking

Having a new baby, my wife going back to work, and a lack of available childcare has made 2015 a rough year.  The lack of Childcare has been the hardest part.  My work is pretty flexible, I tried a few days taking our foster baby to work with me.  I’ve got a crib, play-gym, and swing set up in my office. However, he wasn’t very cooperative.  Last week I decided to work from home which was much more productive.

However, not much woodworking is getting done.  This is a shame because I would really like for Dailey Woodworks to become a viable side business to better support my growing family.

We purchased a Beco Gemini Baby Carrier (which is great) which allows me to carry the baby and have both hands free to do household chores.  However, doing things like operate a table saw is still not an option (according to my wife…).   Therefore, woodworking is relegated to times when someone else can watch the baby.

This would mean my shop time would be most evenings, right?  Wrong.  By the time my wife gets home from her teaching job, it is time for dinner, time to give the baby a bath, time to get the baby to bed, and time to wash bottles, so we can start the whole process again the next day.  Also, I’m a Youth Pastor, so the evenings are when the Youth are out of school.  So I spend time going to their games, doing Bible Studies and other things.  I’m only home 3-4 nights out of the week.  This means woodworking is now Saturdays only.  Sure I might get an hour or two in here and there, but as a whole it’s Saturday or bust.

What all this means is that I must now manage my time better than I ever have before.  Not since being a newly wed, in college, while working two jobs have I been this organized.  And it starts with planning out my week.

I’m a fan of the Art of Manliness blog.  Last week Brett McKay published a video on planning and organizing.  It really helped me get back in the groove of planning effectively.  Here’s the Video:

I’ve tried planners, organizers, electronic and old school.  I don’t like the effort of trying to keep up with an organizer, and I find I’m just not a fan of Evernote, IPhone Reminders, or other software for your PC and Phone.

I now take a hybrid approach.  I use a great Windows 8.1 app called OneCalendar (it’s free), and a plain note book.  My wife and I use Google Calendar to plan our weeks.  We share our calendars across all our devices so I know what she’s doing, she knows what I’m doing, etc.  I have calendars created for work and other things, all color coded so we can filter and see the information that’s most relevant to both of us.

Based on the big events for the week I plan my pen and paper to-do list around it.  I use a backpack to go back and forth to work so it stays with me.  If I’m going to the store, or into the city, I’ll make a shortlist on my IPhone to use while I’m out.  For groceries we use an app called GroceryIQ we can share and sync lists and it even keeps track of prices to help us stay on budget.

For my notepad I do my “mental dump” and then start organizing my list by category and priority.  This helps me see what I need to and want to accomplish.  I then roughly plan out my days based on calendar appointments and then priority.  This helps me be as productive as I can.

For shop time this helps because I know exactly what task I want to accomplish in the time I have available.  I’m a global thinker, so I always have a big picture of the project I want to do.  Detailing each task helps me hone in on the individual steps so I don’t waste time figuring out what to tackle first.

 

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