Dailey Woodworks


It’s Sunday, and here I sit a 6:24am fully dressed down to my shoes.  My keys, wallet, and knife are in their pockets; I’m ready to walk out the door.  I don’t have anywhere to be until church at 11am.  The little monsters sweet children get up around 8 every day.  So why?

Because I want to be productive.  My web developer, Jason at Placer Marketing, told me about an article he read about productivity and the power of getting up early.  He sent me the link and I’m convinced to give it a try.  Click here to read the article by Benjamin Hardy.

When I think back, the most productive times in my life have been when I consistency woke up early

When I think back to the most productive times in my life, they have been the seasons that I intentionally woke up early.  I remember my first job as a part-time youth minister while in college, I was so excited and driven.  The biggest perk was I had a nice office, and keys to the building.  For the first few months, I was there by 7:30, no one else was there until 8:30.  By noon I had accomplished everything I needed to do that day including many long-term goals.  My grades in college also improved thanks to my early rising and intentional planning of each day.  Eventually, the excitement wore off and I fell back into the “wake up late, rush out the door, arrive barely on time routine the majority of people live in.

Most people spend their day reacting to situations instead of anticipating them

Most people spend their day reacting to their obligations instead of anticipating them.  Yesterday was Saturday.  Saturday in my world is “work on our house day.”  There are chores do, children to play with, trash to take to the dump (We live in a rural area without curbside garbage service). I meant to start this “get up a 5am” thing yesterday but hit my alarm button as soon as I heard it and went back to sleep.

At 7:30 I was awoken by little ones hungry and ready to be awake (Saturday is my wife’s day to sleep in: she adamantly disagrees with anyone who says you should wake up before 9:00 am).  Now I was in reaction mode,  I had two hungry and fussy toddlers who had to get frustrated and loud enough to wake me from my sleep to get their needs taken care of.  I had to jump out of bed and go straight to them and start getting their breakfast and sippy cups ready.  Because I wasn’t ready to be awake this made my attitude…less than pleasant…and set my tone for the entire day.

Today will be different.  I’m already up and can anticipate and plan my morning.  My oldest gets up first then wakes up the middle-est (Yes I’m making up a new word).  If I can get him up and out the middle-est can keep sleeping for another hour.  I can have his pop-tart and cup ready and we can have some quality time first thing before getting ready for church.  I’m anticipating my day instead of reacting to it.  I’m taking back control.

Unplanned time is wasted time

Unplanned time is wasted time.  Therefore, just waking up at 5am is pointless without a plan.  So I applied Lean to my 5am wake-up time.  Lean is about continuously improving a process.  Your morning routine is a process and therefore can be improved to eliminate waste and increase productivity.

This is what my mornings were looking like:

  • Alarm goes off at 6:40. Hit snooze until 7:20
  • 7:20 rush to get dressed and out the door by 7:30, usually 8 if I’m working from home
  • 8:00 get to jobsite or shop without any real plan on what I should be doing first

As you see I’m reacting to my day:

This is my goal for what my mornings will look like now:

  • 5:00-5:15 Get up and get fully dressed.  To me, there is something psychological about being dressed and ready to go.  It’s always been a thing for me.  I’m sure there is research to validate my opinion on this (this is the internet after all…).
  • 5:15-5:30 Stretch, get moving.  From past experience I know if I get up and go straight to a desk (or couch) I will fall asleep there or just sit there in a zombie state. Stretching has tons of benefits and feels good.  I don’t exercise in this time I’m just on my feet.
  • 5:30-5:45 – Bible reading, prayer, meditation.  This is something I have neglected in my life for much too long.
  • 5:45-6:00 – Physical Activity.  My body is still fighting consciousness at this point so I do something to get the blood moving.  I got this awesome punching bag for Christmas but it’s on the back porch and I would wake the family up using it at this time.  So shadow boxing.
  • 6:00-6:15 – Plan my day, 3S (a Lean thing), make an actionable plan for self-improvement.
  • 6:15-7:00 – Computer time to blog, edit video, return business email, work on estimates, etc.  Today I’m writing this blog post.  And it’s my Sabbath so I’m not doing any real work.  This blog post is different somehow, I think because it’s more personal, so I don’t consider it work.  I’m also bleeding into my next block of time.  Also, no social media during this time.
  • 7:00-7:30 – Continued computer time, load up the trailer to head to jobsite, or start cleaning shop to start work at 8:00
  • 7:30-8:00 – Travel time to jobsite.  It takes me roughly 30mins to get to a location, and I cant really start making noise until 8:00 due to city ordinances and common courtesy.
  • 8:00 – Saw Blades spinning.  Out of respect for my neighbors, I don’t start any loud equipment until 8:00.  I have stood there with my hand on the saw and a clock at 7:59 waiting for 8:00.

This is my planned morning routine.  It’s not set in stone and I can change it as I see fit.  However, following my planned morning routine is set in stone in that whatever plan I set I will follow.  So far I’ve had a calm and productive morning.

Remember: Your morning routine is a process and all processes can be continuously improved.

What does your morning routine look like? What changes can you make to improve your morning productivity?

Be sure to read the article that inspired me to start this new 5am madness: You Make Or Break Your Life Between 5-7 AM by Benjamin Hardy

My Goals for Dailey Woodworks in 2018

Setting a Goal and Failing to Reach it Gets you further than Never Setting One

Well, I can tell you that the goal of having this post up by the first week of January didn’t happen.  That’s the thing with goals, just because we don’t reach them doesn’t mean we should stop trying or stop setting them.  Setting a goal, then failing to reach it often gets you further than never setting one, to begin with.

Goals are important for a full life and essential for a successful business.  When I first started a business I was asked, “What is your five-year plan?” At the time I didn’t have one but I decided to sit done and right out that plan (you can read it here).

By the End of 2020: My Five Year Plan (Update)

In fact, I just decided to re-read my five-year plan, and I’m doing pretty well.  I’m about halfway there.  My first five year plans goes to the end of 2020.

  • 15,000 Youtube Subscribers.  In review, I’d hoped to be further along than I currently am.  My growth is consistent but flat.  I’m getting close to 6k subscribers.  I need to work harder at that.
  • My Wife and I Want to Restore Old Homes.  Homeownership eluded my wife and me for a long time.  I’m proud to say that in 2017 we were able to buy our first home.  It needed and still needs a lot of work.  I’m not sure having it ready to sell in 2.5 years is still a goal I want to have.  But #achievementunlocked. It also has an awesome shop that has helped my business grow a lot.
  • I want to be a far better craftsman than I am now. I can tell you for a fact I’m much better than I was just two years ago.  I’m proud of how my skills have developed however, it’s not enough.  I am committed to continuous improvement.  There is always a new skill to learn, a better method to complete a task, and a new idea that will change everything.  Be a lifelong learner and never consider yourself to have ‘mastered’ your craft.
  • By 2020 I want to have one or two good apprentices.  This goal has proven to be especially difficult.  I’ve found one good worker (1/3) who wants to learn.  The challenge is being profitable enough to sustain an apprentice (he doesn’t want to work for free).  I am amending this goal.  I’ve found that good subcontractors and friends in the trades are better than employees.  I can hire a few good guys I’ve found to do a job and not have to stress about keeping them paid during slow times.
  • I want a bigger/better truck.  I have achieved this goal, but not in the way I had hoped.  My old, beloved, F-150 blew a head gasket. I was able to successfully use a “liquid fix” for a few months.  Then I was in an accident; a drunk pulled out in front of me.  I now have a 2013 F-150 SuperCrew with the 3.5Ecoboost and 6.5ft bed.  It’s perfect for my work.  I’m very happy with it.
  • Tools – I want all the Tools. This goal will never change.  Specifically, I want to get into the Festool ecosystem of tools.

What are my Goals for 2018?

  1. Save 10% of gross income (10% profit). My net profit for 2018 was only $866.  That means I only took in $866 more dollars than I spent on materials, tools, payroll, and theft taxes.  Sure, I invested a lot of money into the right tools, paid down a lot of business debt etc.  But that’s such a sad little number for a business.  My simple solution? When I get a deposit 10% straight off the top goes into savings, period.  That will also give me a buffer against downturns, illness, and equipment failures.
  2. Operate my business debt free. I achieved this goal this week.  Thanks in a large part to goal one.  I’ve been setting aside money off the top and aggressively paying down business-related expenses.  I’m now working on building up enough working capital to take on any job without “floating” (using lines of credit while working a job and paying it off when paid for that job).
  3. Online passive business income 50% of Salary.  Did you know that my website and youtube channel earns money? Youtube pays me to run ads alongside my business and I often use Amazon Affiliate links for products I recommend.  This brought in a nice little extra but didn’t take off until I started selling woodworking plans on Etsy.  This has exploded my passive income streams and allowing me to really grow and invest in the business.  Notice I’m not saying gross income.  I’m saying my salary.
  4. Sell 10 dog kennels a month. Dog kennels are one of those accidental businesses that fell into my lap.  I’m making about 2-3 a month currently.  I’m working with my web guy to get a store up and running with the goal of selling 10 a month.  The will allow me to focus my business more on custom woodworking.
  5. Specialize in custom woodworking, remodeling, and cabinetry work. Hey, look! One goal works toward the next.  I want to do less “handyman work.”  The handyman work got me to where I’m at today, but I don’t enjoy it like I do the cabinetry and woodworking.  I’m no longer actively offering “handyman services” or advertising them to new customers.  What I’ve decided to do is to offer my hourly handyman services to current and established customers.  The idea is to provide this service to people with whom I’ve already formed a relationship with.

My Shop

One of the most valuable things that is helping me achieve my goals is my shop.  One of the reasons my wife and I bought the house we did was because of the shop space available.  Just to rent a space like this in my area would end up costing more than our current Mortgage payment.  That’s a big deal.  I’m continuously improving this space and making it better every day.

Here is the tour:


I’m convinced: setting goals and failing to meet them gets you further than never setting goals to begin with.  I’m going to work hard to achieve my goals this year, and if I don’t meet all of them it’s OK.  For example, if I only manage to make a 5% profit instead of 10% that is still better than the 1% profit I make this year.  If I only sell 6 kennels a month instead of 10, that’s still double of what I’m currently doing.

continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection – mark twain

What are your goals for 2018?

The Business of Carpentry Episode 2 – The Road to Self-Employment

I’m coming up on one year of being self employed as a Carpenter.  It has been awesome, stressful, scary, fulfilling, and fun.  It is downright the best career decision I’ve made in my life.  In this episode I share a little more of my journey.  Hopefully, you can pick up some tips or simply understand the path a little more.

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