The Balancing Act

Tegan at ADK Folk School
Going over some paper work while I am selling some of my handwovens at the Adirondack Folk School this past holiday season.

I have two jobs. One is my dream job, creating handwoven products for others and for my loved ones. I love to be at my loom creating, designing, and being the one who creates.

My other job? I am a store manager at a lifestyle and clothing retail store. It is demanding and challenging. I like it a lot because it makes me think critically everyday on how to talk to potential customers, employees and how to grow within a company. I love this job, because I get to be myself, and I also have the opportunity to learn.

The biggest thing about this, is I have to make a very decisive effort in order to make time for my dream job. It usually comes when I have a day off to devote solely to my loom. And often times those days off are laced with other grown up priorities. So now that the weaving season has started again in full fervor, I have decided to develop a balancing plan so that I can get things done efficiently, effectively and to not want to cry myself to sleep because I didn't budget my time correctly.

Things I would like to implement in my life:

  • Make time to work at the loom everyday No matter what time I have to work at my day job, I must set aside time to work at the loom. Even if it is just for an hour. This will help ensure that a project does not get left unattained for extended periods of time.
  • Unless it is a dire situation, don't think about day job stuff while working on dream job stuff - I really need to start working on separating these two different things in my mind. I have to focus solely what is in front of me. This will help relieve some the anxiety that I have been experiencing the past couple weeks about balancing everything.
  • Utilize a calendar - I am terrible at this. I am notorious for utilizing a calendar for three weeks and then forgetting to update it. And once I forget to update it- then it never gets updated again until about two months later. What I am going to start doing is daily look at my wall calendar and the calendar on my phone and organize what I can do to accomplish the bigger goal. I can break the bigger projects down into pieces and work them around my daily work schedule. If something doesn't get done, then I move it to the next day so that I won't forget.
  • Take time to take care of myself - This is not 100% weaving related, but it is in that even when I do have a balanced schedule, I seem to forget to eat a meal, or I don't sleep well. I have started going to the gym to help maintain my body physical body. It is only a few hours a week but it is enough that I have started to sleep better at night, I have more energy, and I feel better about myself. This has also encouraged me to start planning meals for the week for my husband and I that are healthy and satisfying. It is hard when we are constantly working, but if I can set aside one evening or morning to cook a couple meals that we can eat for the rest of the week, it will help alleviate a ton of stress that we have.
  • Find the joy in what I'm making - sometimes I create something that I have done quite a few times before. Same treadling, same issues to solve, same everything. I sometimes get a little bored and frustrated because it isn't what I want to ultimately be doing. I have to realize that not every weaving project I do is going to be an exquisite piece of woven art that could potentially be shown in a gallery or in a runway show. Some weaving I do will be "boring" to me, but what I have to look at is the end goal. The goal to hand this product to a customer who is so happy that their fleece has been created into something that they can cherish, along with future generations. That is the ultimate goal- is to bring joy and comfort to those around me.
  • Don't Settle - with that being said, I also shouldn't settle for just what I know I can create. I also have to set aside time daily to learn something new. Reading an article, planning a sampler, or working through a design problem, can all be part of this. I must be the driving force that pushes me to do something great. Maybe plan that large woven sculpture that has been in the back of my mind for three years. Or make some samples of a technique that I never thought I would try. Possibly, work away at the Certificate of Excellence for the Handweaver's Guild of America. I just have to keep pushing myself.
  • Hold myself accountable - no one is to blame for my downfall except myself. I will be the only person holding me back if I don't succeed. So how do I hold myself accountable? Don't let things slide. Don't let a project go until it's too late because it is boring. Don't put off weaving that sampler because it takes too long to rethread all the he addles in-between. Don't avoid doing something because it's hard. If I can eliminate some of my biggest time wasters and sources of anxiety, then it will be easier to move forward and accomplish what I want to do.

These are just a few things that I am going to start working on to balance my life. What are some things that you do to prevent yourself from going crazy? How do you organize your day so you can work on your weaving without feeling guilty? Do you have any other recommendations for me? Let me know in the comments below!

  1. GZ
    I think how you have prioritized things in your life and have come up with a plan to realize what's important is well done, indeed. You are a thoughtful young lady. Excellence is a planned event; it doesn't just happen, regardless of how much talent you have. Good, good, good. I also think that picture of you is great. And that's enough thinking for today...
  2. Amanda H.
    Thank you Tegan! I was just wanting to look at your scarves for this winter and encountered my self with this very beautiful reading! I needed to hear this! THANK YOU! It's been very hard for me to balance my life lately, specially with trying to make a living and still doing what I love in order to survive. Miss you tons!