5 ways to spend more time in the workshop

I might have a unique situation, but I doubt it. That is, I have a hard time finding the time to work on my various projects. Sometimes I'm just plain busy. Other times, I might have some free time but I don't think its a large enough block of time to really get anything done so I don't bother and do something else instead. I have two young children (two and five years old) that require a lot of attention in addition to work and other things.

So I've been trying different techniques to fit more time in the workshop. Here's my list -- its by more means exhaustive and some may or may not work for you. I hope they do! And if you have some tips you do, please post your comments here so everyone can take advantage of them.

  1. Take advantage of even the small blocks of time. If you have a half hour you may not get to chop all the tenons on a table, but you could clean up part of your shop so when you have the time later, you can start right into it. I know I always have part of my workshop in a state of mess and even fifteen minutes of cleanup can make a difference -- there's always a few tools that were left and not put back in their rightful place!

  2. Plan in advance what you need to accomplish when you're in the workshop. Take some time on your daily commute to work to think about what things you'd like to work on next. If you can visualize the things you'd like to do, you could also jot them down in a notepad, cell phone or whatever. Play or read back your notes next time you head into the workshop. It help ensure you're more productive when you're there.

  3. Make a schedule for your project. I know this can be hard, but it can help force you to put in the effort to get things done or prioritize what you want to do.

  4. Keep the number of concurrent projects to a minimum. I can't help but have multiple things in the works. I've been working on reducing it and keep only one or maybe two things going at the same time. If your workshop isn't spacious(who does!?!?) then multiple projects crowd your workbench and slows you down.

  5. Invite friends and family to work with you. Why not have your children or friends come into your workshop so its not a choice of working on your project or spending time with family and friends. Make sure they know how to handle tools and provide a safe environment for them, and you might make a lifelong woodworker too. What a joy that would be!


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