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Working Hard or Hardly Working? Becoming More Efficient in 2016

I’m not a New Year’s Resolution kinda guy. But I do believe in goal setting.

Cheltenham Road has been going well, but for 2016 I’m at a key point. I need to take the business to “the next level.”

I have lots of plans but first up is setting up life in such a way that I can get more done and done more efficiently.

To that end I have begun “clocking in.”

The danger of working from home is that it’s easy to get distracted. I get to work and then, without really noticing it, I discover that I’m doing the laundry or cleaning the kitchen.

The timer keeps me brutally honest about just how many hours I’ve worked which also keeps me focused. I discover I get A LOT more done when the timer is set than I do when I’m just guestimating how long I’ve worked.

So I’ve spent my last week brutally cleaning (the house, garage and work room had become a SuperFund site) , discarding “stuff” and re-organizing.

I’ve used the fact that I’m slow to de-decorate to get Christmas projects done for the next holiday season.  I was toying around with making a vintagy Christmas tool tote and I thought it would be fun to make the ends look like Christmas trees.DIY Vintage Christmas Tree Tote by Cheltenham RoadI found little, light up trees in a remainder bin and thought I’d try my hand at the apothecary thing.Apothocary Jar Christmas Tree Project by Cheltenham Road

I’ve worked up a new HOME sign for a customer in ArkansasArkansas Little Rock Wooden HOME sign by Cheltenham Road
and made new coasters featuring vintage railroad graphicsClassic Railroad Train Coaster Set by Cheltenham Road on EtsyAnd, finally, reworked some of my standard items with new graphics and new pics (just to change things up a bit)Vintage Paris Map Wood Candle Block Tealight Holder by Cheltenham Road on EtsyAnd I’ve tried to adopt the “touch it once” rule.

The thinking is that you try to touch things as few times as possible. So, rather than letting stuff pile up (my constant habit) and then having touch it again to put it away you attempt to only touch stuff once.

Some of you may recall that I tried this sort of thing before only that time is was a scheme where every time I set something down I was supposed to ask myself “is that where that goes?”

It worked for a while but that little voice got very annoying very fast. And soon I was hearing a nagging voice ask “is that where that goes?” and then a louder, angrier voice would shout “IT IS NOW!”

And I realized I was spending a lot of time alone and the voices in my head were yelling at each other and that just seemed like a slippery slope.

But I like the Touch It Once rule because it feels a bit like a game. How do I touch this thing as few times as possible?

I (or quite possibly my psychiatrist) will keep you posted on it goes.

In the meantime, I’m putting the final touches on my next Mod Podge Rocks project (coming up mid-week) and I’ve got tons of other ideas to execute in my newly disciplined workshop.

But, for now it’s back to cleaning and organizing.

About cheltenhamroad

I’ve been surrounded by amazingly creative people my whole life. My mom can, and does, make anything. The family has on occasion speculated that she just whipped up my dad one day when she discovered some left over fabric and stuffing. My three sisters have mad skills ranging from needlework to cooking to out and out ART. My father’s desk when I was growing up had a model train set going around it, oh, and he made that desk-from scratch. I’m the youngest and, as you can imagine, it’s a hard series of acts to follow. Truth be told, I’ve spent many, many years suppressing the creative instincts I learned at home. But I realized (rather late in life) that few things bring me more joy than making and creating. For the longest time when I went to stores I didn’t think, “I want that” I thought, “I can make that.” And, with a deep breath and a leap, I’ve started on a very new, kinda scary path. I’ve given up my steady, dependable (dull!) corporate life to spend my days happily humming away in my garage designing, creating, painting, decoupaging and sawing and, since this blog will be an honest take on things, there is also a fair amount of tripping, spilling and swearing. Through this blog I hope to share with you the struggles and (hopefully) triumphs of a very non-businessy business person. I also hope to make this blog a resource for people who like to work with their hands and who are, like me, always looking at things and thinking “I could make that!” I’ve lived many places since I left Cheltenham Road; I currently live in Los Angeles California. So, with this preamble- Welcome to Cheltenham Road! Please come on over and make yourself comfortable – the place is always open.

11 responses »

  1. Oh for God’s sake. Organization is the antithesis of creativity. You’re gonna find yourself looking at a spic and span workplace/house with your chin resting in your palm and wondering where the inspiration went

    • I do agree to a certain extent. The trick for me is that while I need to be creative I’m also running a one-man-factory and the factory side keeps bogging me down. My goal is to get the factory super organized so that my messy creative side gets equal time. Wish me luck.

  2. The clock is a great idea. I’m supposed to be editing my manuscript for the publisher, but I’m here reading your blog post and other emails with the thought of: if I get my email caught up, then I’m free to edit and write. Ha! I know authors who have clocks with timers and word count apps on their computers. Alas, I’m not one of them.

    And, I went on instagram and bought pillows made from vintage quilts from a local artist.

    And the tote! Love it!!!

    Maybe, I’ll just blame the 31″ inches of snow from #snomageddon2016!

    Yes, I’m getting my edits done. Due Wednesday. Procrastination is my enemy. I can’t make money if the story isn’t published.


  3. OK, this is just inspiration overload. How can any of the rest of us keep up with all this! Nice new products!

  4. Love the tote!

  5. LOL! “IT IS NOW!” I can totally relate!

  6. There’s a Railroad Museum in Griffith Park and I am pretty sure they have a gift shop. Just sayin…

  7. I’m behind on my blog reading and found this post. Love all your ideas, always so colourful and fun and unique but I can’t believe those Christmas trees on the end of the tote… that is a “why-didn’t-I-think-of-that” moment! TREEmendous idea!

  8. Love your voices in your head replying to one another: “It is Now”. I laughed out loud at that one. Enjoy your sense of humor. Lots of fun.

    I too need to have my space “relatively clean and organized”. Helps my creativity. Just so I am not using that as a reason to put off getting the main task accomplished.

    • Yes! I discovered, years ago, the satisfaction of “procrastination by cleaning.” You feel like you’re getting something worthwhile done even while not doing the thing you’re actually supposed to be doing!


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