Maybe You Can HAVE It All, But You Can't DO It All - Work Smarter, Not Harder Part II - why the right tools matter

I bet you thought I had forgotten all about my Work Smarter, Not Harder series, didn't you?

(tell the truth, we're all friends here and I don't blame you because I have been known to leave these series posts hanging out forever for a long time)

When I sat down to write Part II which I had so smartly labeled "Tools" and "Delegation" I realized I had absolutely no idea where I was going with these topics and am certainly no kind of expert on either.

(not that this has ever stopped me before)

So, I will be just dive into tools right now and save delegation for next week when we will chat about all things delegatable.

(and if you have anyone in your life besides you, you totally have someone to delegate to, and if they actually live with you, well, then they totally have to do what you tell them to do and there are lots of ways to make this happen that don't involve the use of any weaponry on your part - really)


OK, the first thing I want to say about tools because I do not know your specific little enterprise is that being a maker, you should make yourself aware of what tools are out there for you.

For a long time (until last month)

I used a hand drill for all kinds of things when a drill press would have worked so much better.

Now, hubby has a huge drill press in his shop and I use that one for my lockets, but everything else, and I make alot of little everything else's, I drilled in my own studio with a hand drill.

When I finally broke down and bought a smaller drill press for my studio

(about the cost of a dinner out- why I waited so long I have no idea - other than I thought it would be too messy in the studio and I have no space - but once I got serious and created some space and figured out I could just set the damn thing in a cardboard box lid to make sawdust cleanup easier I bought one)

I saved time.

When I spent half a day making jigs and templates for everything I drill consistently in the same place I saved alot of time.

I think partly because hubby is such a big proponent of having the proper

(and most expensive - ugh, yes, our retirement plan is entirely pieced together with Snap On hand tools and large machinery that need to be continually "updated")

tools and because I am such a pro-recycler and re-purposer, I have always leaned toward the "make do" aspect of tool purchasing.

The truth is though that if you are a professional person running a professional business you need the right tools - the best you can afford - don't raid the kids' college funds now, but wire wrapping your beads with the wrong needle nose pliers is not the way to go.

The other tools I recently purchased are a headset for my studio phone - no more running to the phone, I have the headset around my neck and the phone itself clipped to my pocket, and an answering machine that announces the name of the caller out loud (so I know who to ignore answer). Both are great time savers.

(I may be the only person left with a landline, but there could be some way you can use tools to avoid distractions, too)

If you have an Etsy shop there are tons of time-saving downloads out there and I will post about them next time.

(I really promise to do this - pinky swear and all that jazz)

In the meantime maybe start thinking about your own studio tools and check out what time saving new (or new to you) stuff might be out there.

**power drill tea towels by girlscantell and I do all my own stunts embroidery machine design by funkeedesigns**


judÄ— said...

interesting, Cat ... love to get a glimpse into your life.. I totally get it about the right tools an putting things off. :)

Karen M said...

Good advice! I once worked with a cracked ruler for far too long, because I foolishly didn't want to spend the money for a new one. But since I work in a small space, I have to be careful what tools I bring in to it. Too many tools, and there is not enough room to work!

Unknown said...

This is so true Cat! I finally broke down and got myself a decent paper cutter instead of cutting everything with my exacto and ruler. Why did I wait for so long?

Orion Designs said...

One of my jewelry making friends uses a toothpick to make round loops in wire -- instead of round nosed pliers. Yes, she's insane.

Valerie said...

haha...I love it! I'm actually a proponent of trying to stay off the tool grid whenever possible. I have NO IDEA why, as I'm sure I give myself so much more extra work. Though I do think, it's inspired some discoveries. I think it's part of the enjoyment for me to do more by hand. That being said however, I'm dying for a better torch, as I think it will make such a difference.