Have you ever thought 'I wish I could just do one thing rather than lots of different things' I often do. I have always struggled to find the craft/hobby/job that defines me and encompasses all the things I love.
Are you like me? How does the phrase go... Jack of all trades, master of none? I hate to think that this is what I am but it is hard to deny that I have my hand in a lot of pies all the time. Like many of you I'm sure have a lot of 'hobbies' and technically a lot of jobs. Does this mean we have a lots of talents, or just one very diverse talent? I'm not quite sure. We interview a lot of designer/makers and business owners here and recently we interviewed Sarah from Homebarn, one thing she said struck a cord with me. When I asked her what advice she would give to herself back at the beginning she said ''Don't try and cover all the bases, stick with what you love and don't spread yourself too thin'' Is this what we do? If you have such a diverse background and your interests and passions are so varied how do we not spread ourselves too thin?
I think the key is also in Sarah's answer 'stick with what you love' I know that I take on projects because I 'think I should' do them rather than 'wanting' to do them, or more often than not because I know I can do them. I, as H will tell you, am all too freely offering my time to do things for other people because I know I can solve their problem, therein not leaving me time to focus on what I 'want' to be doing. I also know that I am not alone in this, I am sure that a lot of you will be nodding along with that last part...
Lets try a little something shall we....
Make a list of all the things that you do, this may be a long list. I tried to list them in groups to help me remember them all. I included some things that I want to make time for but can't and some things I can do but don't like doing.
Take three separate pages now and make three headings
What I have to do
What I want to do
What I can do without
Let's put all the things on our first list onto our new lists, pick out our most obvious choices first, then we can make our way down the list and make some tough decisions.
Some times you just can't do one thing without another but think about how you could more effectively combine those activities. For instance as much as I love photography, I am never going to take the leap to being a full time professional photographer, so taking the decision and limiting my photography to be something I only do for our blog and for Sew Crafty helps me to limit the time I have to spend on marketing for new business as 'a photographer'.
Some things like our main source of income, mine would be anything to do with Sew Crafty, are essential and I can't get away with not doing my household chores but I can try and plan my time a little better so I make more time for fun things and identifying things that others can do for you. Once we have identified what we want to do and what we have to do it is easier to let go of those things that we don't need to do.
I am quite handy with a needle and thread and have done many, many alterations for friends and family over the years, this is a good example of something I can do, but don't like doing. I am capable of doing alterations, but it is so boring, often difficult and time consuming, it is also difficult to charge for, especially when it's your friends! So I have taken the decision to stop doing it. I have lots of connections through Sew Crafty of lovely people who do alterations for a living, so when my friends ask me in the future, rather than taking the work on myself I am going to pass it on to one of them. Helping me to have more time to do the things I want and giving our lovely alterations people some business, everyone wins!
I know that I don't want to give up all the things I love to do, I love the feeling of discovering a new skill and having multiple projects on the go, but sometimes we all need to take a step back and trim away those things that we do because we can, rather than because we want to. I don't know if I will ever find just one thing that makes me happy, I am pretty sure that it will always be a combination of all my favourite things that define me. My job is being creative and teaching others how to be creative too, I love that! and if that means I have my fingers in a lot of pies, fine, I will take it, but doing everything just because I can, not any more.
I am going to try and live by the words of Vincent 'What is done in love is well done'
I really hope this has helped some of you as much as me. I know the list exercise helped me realise a few things. This is a different kind of post than usual, let me know if it's something you would be interested in seeing more of here.