The first two months of 2015 flew past, with one big show already behind me, and the next one approaching fast. I have a new production schedule this year, and so far it is working out very well. It is an update to last year's production schedule, which was based on a three-week cycle (produce $5000 of inventory in two weeks, followed by one week of glazing and firing). I followed To-Do Lists that totaled $5000 worth of pots. I had two of these lists, and used them alternately. That schedule worked well, but by the end of the year, I had outgrown it. This seems to happen every year. My production speed continues to improve. It no longer takes two weeks to produce $5000 worth of pots.
This year, rather than Two-Week To-Do Lists that total $5000, I divided up my production needs into Two-Day To-Do Lists that total roughly $1250 worth of pots each. What I used to produce in a week, I now produce in four days. Then I take two days off. Now I produce $5000 of pots in 12 days, not 14. Firing and glazing does not get a whole week anymore either. This phase only takes three days, followed by two days off. What took me three weeks last year, this year takes 17 days, including plenty of down time.
My goal is not to produce more work this year, my goal is to take more days off. Last year, when I spent a weekend doing a show, I was "forfeiting" my weekend for the show. This year, show days will be considered work days too, and days off will be scheduled after every show. See, I'm no longer bound by a schedule that is defined by "weeks." Weeks do not exist anymore in my world.
For those of you who read this blog to learn about the inner workings of a full-time pottery business, here are my Two-Day To-Do Lists. I have eight of them. I have completed 13 of them this year so far. I have been doing them in this order, but I like that I have the flexibility to do them out-of-order depending on my inventory needs. My shorthand might not make sense to you.
In fact, today is a Friday and one of my days off. But like I said above, it is 20°F outside, and I don't feel like leaving my warm house. Better to write a blog post instead. Rumor is tomorrow will be above 40°F, the snow will melt off my car, and I can go out somewhere tomorrow. Then it's back to work on Sunday.