A Quick Update

Hello everyone, and happy Monday! You might have noticed I didn’t get a post up on Friday – which might lead you to believe I’ve been slacking relaxing and taking it easy. I wish! I’ve been putting together all of the bits and pieces on my fourth pattern. (I can’t wait to tell you more about it! But more on that later…)

Last week was a surprisingly productive week. At my last meeting with my mentor, she challenged me to keep track of all of my activities at work, for the whole week. So I tracked the entire work week, broken down into 15-minute intervals. Even the little things like ‘made a cup of tea’ and ‘licked envelopes’ – everything I did, I wrote down!

The result? I was super productive! The thought of writing down things I didn’t want to record, like ‘browsed fabric online’ or ‘chatted on phone’ pushed me to work harder and smarter. It also made me think – what should I be working on right now? Of all the things on my list, what’s the most important? It was like playing a game with myself, and I like to win! The next step is to sort and analyze the types of activities I wrote down, to see what takes up the bulk of my time. (And eventually, see where I could get help!)

Things I didn’t do? Sew my coat project. It’s fun, but certainly not the top priority. And when I’m not making a lot of sewing progress, it’s harder to find things to write about! (Hence the missing Friday blog post.) I swear I finish more knitting projects that sewing projects these days.

So I’m thinking it would be wonderful to have a couple of guest contributors over November and December. I have a feeling it will stay busy from now until the end of the year! I know I won’t be able to keep up daily blog posts and meet all of my business goals.

Rather than worry about it, I’d like to turn it into a good thing by having fresh new voices on the blog! Tips, tutorials, inspiration posts – anything goes! Enthusiasm and passion for sewing are important – but if you’re reading this sewing blog regularly, there’s a good chance that you love sewing as much as I do.

What do you think? Would anyone like to contribute a post or two over the next two months? If you’re interested, email me at tasia[at]sewaholic{dot}net. Send over your ideas, a link to your blog if you have one, and we’ll take it from there!

, ,

18 Responses to A Quick Update

  1. Muriel P October 17, 2011 at 7:54 am #

    Thank you for the idea of tracking ‘all my work day’ activities. I have a sewing business and work from home (alone) and it is so easy to get distracted doing not really important things. All of a sudden it’s 5pm and I wonder what I have accomplished with my day. I’m going to keep track of ‘everything’ I do this week and I’m sure it will be enlightening.

    • Tasia October 17, 2011 at 12:27 pm #

      @Muriel P: I’m glad you liked the idea! I also work alone, and have the same thing happen – it’s 5pm, what did I get done today? Now that it’s getting dark earlier, I have to leave on time, or risk biking home in the dark.. so it sure helps to take a close look at what I do. Sometimes it’s nice too, to look back and say, ‘hey, I was productive!’ We forget what we did after it’s done, or forget to celebrate our hard work. So it’s good for that purpose, too! Try it, and see if it changes anything!

  2. Hapa October 17, 2011 at 8:36 am #

    I’ve heard of this type of technique before as a way to manage time better, but I haven’t used it myself. Mostly because deep down I know where my time is going. Oh those long morning during the weekend and hours spent watching tv or looking at blogs with the excuse of just relaxing for one moment.
    I’ve found that talking to my boyfriend about my day in detail helps me to analyze it and see the bigger picture. Sometimes I realize I’ve done a lot when I thought I hadn’t managed to do as much as I should’ve or the other way around.
    Good luck with time management!

    P.S! I’d love to do a guest post but as you are an amazing blogger i feel a little bit intimidated.

    • Tasia October 17, 2011 at 12:40 pm #

      @Hapa: I think deep down, I know where my time is going too! The act of writing it down though definitely helped. It’s like those ‘healthy eating’ plans where you write down everything you eat no matter how small. You think you know, but when you see it written down it gives you a snapshot of the day! I also want to see how long I spend on each thing, like, how many hours do I spend blogging? sewing? on the phone? and add them up for the week.
      Thanks for the encouragement!

  3. Alice October 17, 2011 at 9:10 am #

    I think guest posts are cool, but I also wonder if you might just take the pressure off of yourself putting up daily posts – crafting really good posts on a daily basis takes a *lot* of work! There are a lot of excellent bloggers who decide to limit themselves to a couple posts per week, and make sure they are really juicy.

    I say this in part because, from a business perspective, I’m not sure it’s a good idea to consider social media (blog posts) and business goals as different things. I say this because, as a longtime reader (March 2010!), I know that the business emerged from the blog, and the blog is really it’s raison d’etre.

    • Tasia October 17, 2011 at 12:03 pm #

      @Alice: Thanks Alice for chiming in as a longtime reader! March 2010, I hardly posted at all back then. :) You’re absolutely right, it takes a ton of work putting together something good every day.
      I agree, the blog is a huge part of what I do! Without regular readers and the support of other bloggers, I can’t imagine how the pattern launch would have went. Not nearly as well, or as much fun! It’s all part of the same thing – getting people pumped about sewing, and providing good tools and information to sew at home.
      Thanks for your feedback! I hate to alienate longtime readers, even though it’s hard to keep up interesting daily posts, so maybe the alternative is to post less. Which is what I meant to do while introducing guest posts – I’d still be writing and talking, just with a little help to fill in the gaps! I just feel like once you start five-day blogging, people will feel let down if the posts slow down. You know? It’s all a balance I suppose!

      • Alice October 17, 2011 at 5:05 pm #

        @Tasia: Aw, i don’t think you have to worry about alienating any of us!
        btw, I was meaning to drop you a message of thanks for all the great work you do! I only started sewing in early 2010, and am now tackling Vogue 1174 (maybe I started following you a couple months later than march 2010… whenever you made that!). I *constantly* refer back to your earlier posts and the sewtionary to figure out techniques… I was sizing down the bodice last week, and doing my fractions, and thinking about how I learned how to do that here!

  4. Corinne October 17, 2011 at 11:32 am #

    Hi Tasia. Like Alice, I think a daily blog post is an admirable but perhaps not a realistic goal when building a business. Of course, one entity builds and feeds the other, however, one must be careful not to dilute the attraction and strength of either. I think a guest post now and then is great, but we tune in here for you. Personally, I would rather see one or two of your great postings, per week, than lots of random stuff. I don’t want to sound like I don’t enjoy learning of other bloggers whose concepts are similar, I do indeed appreciate that, but a link to another site with your brief comment on their style, their work, or their concept works for me. What ever you decide it is welcomed. When you share your process or document your techniques we learn. A brief post about such subjects as seam finish options for different fabrics, how to cover a button, how to even sew on a button in different types of fabrics. A giant project or a roll out of a new pattern is the “treat.” Most of us sew good old regular stuff. Lots of ideas and work to juggle, what a great journey for you….and for us!

    ps:sorry about going on, but I have seen lots of chat about similar subjects on the blogs recently. Some have noted that posting is down and some people have just signed off for a while. One person stated about 6 months ago that she “had lost her Mojo!” she is back now, doing great posts, just not daily, mostly bi-weekly. This is my plan as well. I just don’t have time to blog daily or every other day and do the projects at the same time:)

    • Tasia October 17, 2011 at 11:52 am #

      @Corinne: Thanks so much for the feedback! I know, it’s a tricky balance. Do I make sure to post five days a week, or do I get more patterns developed? How do I keep things interesting on the blog when I haven’t sewn anything share-able? How many question-and-answer posts can I write before it becomes repetitive?
      I had a feeling that a lot of people tune in for me – I hope that doesn’t come off big-headed at all. I feel like I’m not sewing, or pumping out projects, or even having something prepared. Last-minute posts feel like I’m not doing it well! And I like to do things well. I thought perhaps having strong guest posts would be better than lukewarm last-minute posts – and eliminate that ‘oh my gosh what am i going to write tonight!’ feeling.

      I have LOADS of mojo, just not enough time! :) Having the desire and urge to sew and talk about it isn’t the problem at all.

      It’s nice to know that a lot of people are feeling the same way! (About their own blogs, I mean.) Once the ball gets rolling and people start reading, it’s an interesting balance to figure out what to do next.
      Thanks for leaving your thoughts!

  5. Tilly October 17, 2011 at 11:54 am #

    Tasia, your mentor’s idea sounds like an interesting experiment – just make sure you don’t feel guilty for doing something indulgent (like browsing fabric stores!) once in a while, it’s therapeutic! I’d also echo the other people who’ve commented here saying that if you’re feeling pressurised to blog all the time you should go a little easier on yourself. I’ve cut my posting down from three to two blog posts a week and am considering cutting it down even more. There are other projects I want to work on, but blogging – or making something so I can blog about it – seems to suck up quite a lot of my time and energy. As much as I love it, and really value being part of the sewing blog community, I have to keep reminding myself that people probably wouldn’t notice if I took a break once in a while…

    • Tasia October 17, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

      @Tilly: Thanks Tilly! I know, it’s not very realistic if I *only* write down good activities all the time and never let myself have any fun! Fun is the whole reason I got into this world. :)
      I do feel the pressure to keep up daily posts – it feels like one of those things that once you start, you shouldn’t stop. It’s nice to hear that other sewing bloggers feel pressure too and I’m not alone feeling that way. Thanks for sharing that not only have you reduced your posting, you’re still thinking of cutting back more. Like you said in a comment a while back, it’s about ‘energy management’ and if we can’t give the right amount of energy to blogging, it’s best saved up for a future post. Thanks Tilly!

  6. Ashlee October 17, 2011 at 4:45 pm #

    Your idea about tracking your time is awesome! Glad to hear it worked out well for you, and I’m sure we could all benefit from tracking our time more efficiently now and then (I can certainly attest to that in any case!)

    I agree with everyone else that taking pressure off putting up daily posts might be an idea, but I also love the thought of reading guest posts from other DIY/seamstress bloggers as I find everyone is a constant source of inspiration and I’m constantly amazed and impressed with the amount of talent people possess! I have to echo with previous comments that I’d love to do a guest post – but feel like I’m in BIG company and would definitely feel intimidated – in a good way!

  7. Emily October 17, 2011 at 7:11 pm #

    If less blogging = more patterns, I’m all for it! :) I have the pendrell and have made three so far and just tonight bought fabric for 3 more. They’re my favorites to wear under cardigans and jackets at work.

    I would LOVE to have a normal sleeve drafted for on it…so if you’re looking for ideas, I would so totally buy a pattern that had a sleeve drafted that would fit it. Maybe a button down with princess seams and different sleeve options? :)

    Keep up the great work.

  8. Marie October 17, 2011 at 9:12 pm #

    This is completely unrelated, but I just bought your Pendrell blouse pattern from a shop in Kansas City, Mo today. I’ve been looking at it on and off online but never took the plunge. I’m on travel for work in KC though and happened through Bon Bon Atelier (which is a lovely little shop) and there it was in the flesh (or paper) and I got it. Looking forward to getting home and making it – I already have the fabric prepped and ready.

  9. Amy October 17, 2011 at 9:27 pm #

    I second what many people have said above: don’t fret over not posting every week day. If it doesn’t work for you and your business right now, then it’s not worth it. If you were running a major sewing website that was based around multiple voices, then sure, having a post a day from a wide variety of angles is important. But, right now Sewaholic Patterns is you. Your voice. And, if there’s not enough time in the day for you to post and move your business forward, then take the day off from posting. My guess is that you’ll get more out of fewer posts anyway – not only because you’ll be able to better focus what you want to say but also because you’ll get feedback from all of the people who think, “Oh! A post from Tasia! I want to say hello!”

    On another note, I’m also at a place in my life where my career future is dependent on how much work and effort I put in right now. I take work home with me at least a few nights a week. But, I enjoy my work, so I don’t mind. Since I imagine you started your company because you really love sewing, then maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if sewing came home with you a few nights a week. For example, maybe your blogging happens after dinner. Or maybe you buy an extra sewing machine for your home for nights when you want to work on the project du jour. I think it would be fun if bringing work home meant bringing home the perfect thread to match the lining you planned to start sewing that night. Instead, I bring home papers to read or data to analyze.

    Regardless, five posts a week are not necessary for keeping your audience or building your brand. Quality is far superior to quantity. If you’re worried about it, try out the guest posts. But, I’d also counsel you to consider taking off every Friday. Then, after a while of four posts a week, take off every Tuesday and Friday. Then, after another little while of three posts a week, you should have the freedom to post two or three (or whatever you want!) posts a week from then on out.

    Also, another idea to throw out there: have one of your pattern testers lead the Sew-Along for your next pattern. You could select a blogger whose voice you like and skills you trust and reel them in with a free pattern and a lot of press. You could direct and edit, but they’d be the ones making the garment, taking pictures of each step, and writing out the first draft of the text. I imagine it would really free you up to begin on the next pattern right away. Just a thought.

    Good luck with it all. Remember we’re all rooting for you!

  10. Kathleen October 18, 2011 at 12:33 am #

    I agree with others that blog posts every day are not necessary. It seems more important to me to keep the posts consistent with your style and your aims for your company/blog, not going in lots of directions at once. Regular posts are important, but I actually think once a week would be fine.

  11. Sue October 20, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

    Tasia, I love your bloggs and have been inspired over that last few months!! But I would be perfectly happy with just a couple of bloggs from you each week! I don’t find time to check my emails every day anyway! Spending more time sewing lately! Also, you need some time for yourself and Mr Sewaholic to be able to give of your best. Balance is the key, and quality is better than quantity! Thanks for all the good stuff so far! Sue

  12. Misty October 23, 2011 at 8:04 am #

    Hi Tasia! I’m late replying but that’s because I really only spend the time to keep up with my favorite blogs on the weekends right now (work is keeping me ridiculously busy). So certainly no worries if you don’t post 5 days per week. I personally wouldn’t notice. :) I’m excited to see your next pattern!