I spent the bulk of the day yesterday printing out patterns and sanding 8.5” x 11” rounded rectangles of wood. It doesn’t sound like enough to fill the day, but it certainly was. Once again I played the role of ‘captain underestimation,’ grossly underestimating the amount of time it will take me to do things.
(I never have been that good at math. There is something so impersonal about numbers that they just don’t hold my interest. They are an evil necessity of life that I only deal with when I absolutely have to.)
But the good news is that when I planned the time frame for me doing this job and getting things out the door, I doubled the time that I estimated I could complete things in and came out somewhat ahead.
And who said I am not learning? :D
I tell you this with tongue in cheek because I am kind of chuckling at my own inability to accurately estimate how long it will take me to do something.
It isn’t that I couldn’t do it in the stated amount of time. I just find myself picking at things to make them the best that I can and we all know that doing things that way can take forever.
Take for instance this final step of sanding the ponds. I had 72 rounded rectangles made of 1/8” good grade plywood. All I needed to do was smooth them out and give them a final sanding. After all, whenever I purchased a wood kit of any kind, I expected that I would do my own sanding.
But as I started to sand, I got involved. My mind wandered (as it often does when I do repetitive tasks such as this) and I began thinking how this pile of wood that I was sanding here on my deck in Nova Scotia would wind up being shipped all over the world perhaps and be painted and made into family heirlooms and treasures that would possible be passed down from generation to generation. Some of these sets may be around longer than I would. In thinking about it, it really was kind of mind boggling. It boggled my mind anyway.
Now you are all probably laughing, but sometimes I think like that. In any case, it made me want to do a better job and I found I was spending more and more time on each piece, making sure it was satin smooth. Before I knew it, I had a pile of beautiful rectangles that are pretty much ready to paint without sanding at all. It took a bit longer than anticipated, but they were beautiful for what they were. And I was proud of them.
I suppose I will never be a good business person.
I hear stories from people who work at places like Wal-Mart and one story in particular stuck in my mind. A neighbor or mine who lives in Digby got a job at the neighborhood Wal-Mart. He used to sing opera and he was a very pleasant man and always liked to stop and chat about nothing in particular. He has a family though and times are hard and he needed to have a steady income, so he got the job there.
In speaking with him one day, he told of how at work he was required to unpack ‘x’ amount of items in ‘y’ amount of time or he would get written up. The pace required of him was not one of leisure, but one of purpose and it could be quite unforgiving. They had everything timed down to the second as to how long it should take to display each item. The employees were required to work within those perimeters. I was appalled.
I could understand how management wouldn’t want one lollygagging and socializing, but keeping a pace such as he described with the consequences that he mentioned seemed to me unreasonable. I have talked to others who worked there too and they concur with what he said. I wonder what our world is coming to.
Now when I am in a store such as that and see someone stocking the shelves and need to know where to find something, I hate to even ask where the item would be. I hate to break the frantic rhythm of them unpacking their boxes and jeopardize their position because I don’t know where to find the cotton balls. It certainly makes me think.
I don’t know why those thoughts came to me while sanding the ponds. I suspect because I knew that if I were working at Wally World as a sander, I would be canned before the day would be out. Perhaps I am not the most efficient person around, but at least I can look at those future heirlooms and feel a sense of pride in knowing that I offered a good product.
I finished printing last night and today I am ready to package the sets. I assembled one package just to see what the set looked like and it looked complete, professional and like something that I am proud to put my name on. I know everything in that set is quality because I am the one who made it all and put everything together. I know in the future if I am to really be successful that I will need to relinquish some of these tasks to others, but I will pick and choose very carefully so that I am sure that the quality is still there. But for this batch, I know it is the case.
So for today I will be packing up the sets and finding a box for shipping. I see them going out tomorrow, which is well ahead of the August 8 deadline. I spent the remainder of the night researching the next projects that I have in mind and going through 10,000 fonts for something that I have in mind. But that is for the next adventure.
The days fill up quickly. And even though things may take a bit more time than we anticipate, the important thing to me is at the end of the day I can feel good about what I accomplished. i would rather produce one excellent thing than ten that are inferior. That is just the way I am.
Have a great productive day.
-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts, Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"