When do you sleep?

Marian ParsonsBalance, Running a Business66 Comments

I am often asked how I get so much done, when do I sleep and is my energy for sale on Etsy, so I thought it was due time that I share how I do what I do.  Here are the top ten keys to my productivity…

I love it.
I really, really enjoy what I do.  It’s my hobby and business and I love it.  Sometimes too much.  You know the old saying…when you love your work, it doesn’t feel like work. A business is successful because the person driving it is passionate about what they’re doing.  Oh yeah…I’m passionate.


I’m quick.
I am not a perfectionist and thankfully I don’t have to be in this business.  Things that are old and distressed are not perfect and I embrace that.  I don’t spend hours sanding every nook and cranny of a piece.  I use a paint sprayer to save a lot of time.  I don’t agonize about my cones lining up perfectly on my wreaths.  I do a good job, but I work as quickly and efficiently as possible.

I use every spare moment.
I don’t wait for the time when I have three hours of concentrated work, I squeeze work in whenever I can.  If my kids are playing happily or having a time of rest, I seize the moment and pull out a counter-top project or write a blog post.  I know what I can work on when the kids are awake and focus on the things I can’t when they’re asleep.

I multitask.
When primer is drying on one piece, I’ll work on something else.  I paint several pieces at once to save washing out the sprayer for just one piece.  I work assembly-line-style on my glittered letters and such.  While dinner is bubbling on the stove and laundry is in the dryer, I’ll work on decoupaging some sheet music. It’s extremely rare for me to sit down and watch TV without working on something while I’m doing it.   Get the idea?  I’m always on the move.


I have help.
I couldn’t do all of this alone.  My husband watches the kids when I need to get some things done.  We hire a babysitter once a week, so I have concentrated work time during the day.  I may be a one-woman-show, but there are a lot of people who make it possible.

I prioritize.
I know which projects are most important and focus on getting those done first.  I force myself to work on the projects that I don’t feel like doing to get them behind me.  I work on what will alleviate stress.  I also am patient with pieces I don’t have a vision for.  I’ve learned it’s best to not force it.

I stay up late.
I’ve always been a early-to-bed girl, but I have embraced official night owl status.  I stay up until around 11:00 almost every night and sometimes later.  I must admit that when my son wakes me up at 5:30, it’s tough and I really look forward to when my boys are old enough to get their own morning snack and turn on a show while mom gets a little more sleep, but it’s fine for now.  We snuggle on the couch and watch Phineas & Ferb and I’ll stay in my jammies until 10:00, so I feel like I had a relaxed morning.

I’m organized.
I don’t always look or feel organized, but I’m organized enough.  I keep a running to-do list.  I use sticky notes.  I have idea books and a calendar.  And I have piles and I know just what needs to happen in each of them.  Somehow it works.


I work hard.
I am not a lazy person and when I work, I work hard.  I make the most of my time and rarely take breaks.  I line projects up for myself, so I can go right from one thing to another.


I sometimes let other things slide.
The truth is, it may seem like I can do everything well, but I can’t and often don’t.  If I’m working really hard on the business, my housework slips.  If I’m busy with my kids, I don’t have a lot checked off the to-do list.  I have been so busy this year that I have gained 10 lbs!  The time I would use for exercise is taken up with work.  I have to be patient with myself and constantly work at being balanced (and I’ve got to get back on the treadmill!)

I know I’m always showing new projects I’ve completed and the pretty parts of my house and I’m sure it seems like I have it all together.  The truth is, there are times that I am overwhelmed.  Times I fail.  Times I am burnt out and tired.  Times when the dust bunnies and crushed Cheerios could earn me a spot on an episode of “How Clean is Your House?”  There are times I’m in tears, because I just need a break…

…but then tomorrow is a new day and I read some encouraging comments and see what an inspiration my blog is to others.  Or I get an exciting call from someone who loves my work.  Or my husband or mom tells me how proud they are of my accomplishments.  Or my 3 1/2 year old points to something I made and says, “Mommy…woo painted dat?  I fink it’s nice.”  This is a crazy, hectic, exciting, and fulfilling business and I’m ok with being tired at the end of the day and being a homebody and a project junkie.  It’s in my personality.

So, to answer the sleep question…I may not get much, but I sleep hard!

Miss Mustard Seed-280

When do you sleep?

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66 Comments on “When do you sleep?”

  1. Good to know! The most important thing: You have VISION – you know that you can accomplish "something" if you persevere. Sometimes I doubt myself too much and just get "stuck" -"stuck" leads to a non-productive day.
    Have a great day!

  2. Oh my goodness…Can I paste this into a post on my blog?! I can say ditto on all points! I often get asked the same question and you've broken down and described how it is possible to get so much done perfectly! Fabulous!! Janell

  3. Boy do I feel like a slouch now. 🙂

    I cannot WAIT to be majorly bitten by the passion bug in a paying kind of way! I'm workin' my way up to it!

    Thanks for the encouragement you offer all of us. I found this an interesting read. Priceless even!


  4. I am addicted to your blog… I have to read it every morning before I get ready for work… I know how you feel I use to own an occasional sale when my kids where little… Life can get kind of crazy… You have inspired me to think about starting a business again…

  5. I can relate to your always on the go… I can't sit still for a minute and hardly watch tv (when I do it's kid's shows) because I'm always working on projects. Last week I was sick and laid on the couch all week to rest up… it was the hardest thing to do ever, I felt so lazy and like a slacker!!! But now the projects are once again up and running!

  6. Miss mustard seed, you are the truth! This post is a must read for anyone trying to up their goal towards success! I'm going to tweet it now!

    Oh how I love these posts!

  7. God bless you dear! Sometimes I am like that, too! And I know working from home with kids around, it's a very hard job, but very rewarding too!
    To be present in their lives is a blessing! And to do what you like most is fulfilling.
    May you always be full of energy, creative and kind! The world needs more people like you.
    Take care.

  8. Oh my goodness! Thank you so much for this post! You work so hard and you are human, which is how it should be. It is so nice to know that you face the daily challenges that we all do, although you are a bit more busy than I am 🙂 Your hard work is paying off and your things are so gorgeous! And it sounds like you have a wonderful support system which helps tremendously! One day we will all find that balance but as long as you are happy, that is what counts! 🙂

  9. That is a great post, crammed full of specific information that can be helpful to anyone in whatever they want to accomplish!

  10. Wow Marian, you must look like the energizer bunny most days! I appreciated this post, it is an encouragement to me to use my time more wisely. I manage to get stuff done, but not as quickly as I had hoped. Though, I do have a hubby who wants a picked up house each day, though I don't always manage, I try. That generally takes a priority to my "projects". Though, now that I think about it, the more I get into DIYing, the more tolerant he is of the stuff that has to slide. 🙂 I too take time to ready your blog each day, I always love to see what you are doing. Oh, thanks again for the tips about poly acrylic, I now have a list of things that hubby wants me to add it to. Try to work in that treadmill time, you will feel like you have even more energy! (not saying you need to lose weight) It is amazing how much more I get done on days that I exercise, and I sleep so good those nights too!

  11. Marian, you can add "excellent writer" to your long list of accomplishments! This post was very specific and helpful. I too have passion to spare, but I don't work quite as efficiently as you. Maybe I can someday…..I'm going to ask for a paint sprayer for Christmas! Do you have a specific model that you recommend?

  12. What a great post about how you do what you do… so well. I appreciate how real you are in the last 2 paragraphs, and to affirm you… you do GREAT work.

    Thanks for sharing your projects, tutorials, ideas, etc. I have learned so much.


  13. WOW Marion! Your blog is just the best. I look forward to reading it every day and I cannot begin to tell you how inspiring it is. Thank you, thank you!!!!

  14. I related to much of this post. The main difference being that my kids are now teenagers. Believe it or not, sometimes they are very time consuming, as well. But it is good to have the flexibility in our type of schedules to be there for them when they do need us.

    Keep up the great work!
    I am with your little one,
    I think your work is very pretty too.

    Becky K.

  15. You work so hard, and do a fantastic job!!I admire all of your accomplishments.I think one of these days we are all going to see you on tv. I have that feeling….Kathy

  16. Great post, Marian! Very real and very honest. You are an amazing woman. I have to say I loved the little part about what your 3 /12 year old said. Precious and makes it all so rewarding.

  17. I can totally relate! People constantly ask me how I get so much done. I finally did the same thing, I wrote a blog about it 🙂 I think of it as a gift. I don't really know why, even though I could give tips…it's just something I'm blessed with. Believe me, I wish I had other people's blessing sometimes. But this is what the Lord gave me and I am incredibly grateful for it. Thanks for a great post! Lisa~

  18. I get the same question all the time! It often makes me feel bad cause I feel like people are saying "what are you not taking care of?". But I'm the same way, I fit it in when I can and my husband is great about watching the kids and pitching in when I need a helping hand. Now if there is one thing I let really slide….laundry. How I hate it!

  19. Marian,

    You are the best and I guess that's what is so fun about reading your blog and getting inspired by you—you are a grounded artist, mom, wife, daughter, friend!


  20. Thank you for answering this question! I think the organization is the part I lack. Always have to move this, find that or do this first before anything can be accomplished. But if you can do it with little kids, I should be able to get more done without those distractions. When my kids were small and in school, I thought of myself as Super Woman. Now I think that is what you are!

  21. Great post. Your passion shows through in all you do. You also have an abudance of talent and creativity. I love that you share that with your followers. You are a wonderful inspiration.

  22. Thank you for sharing. It's good to know that I am not the only crazy one in the world constantly on the go with a million and one projects, lists, etc. But wait we're women and this is what we do best!

  23. I LOVE YOU! Thank you for letting us in and giving us a glimpse of the not so tidy and perfect parts of your life. It's great to be able to relate to someone we admire. I can't tell you how excited I got when I saw your living room full of furniture! I was like "wow, she's human!" haha.

  24. I have been reading your blog for some time now and ADORE all the things you create. It is so reassuring to know that you are doing it the same way we are – in between naps, late at night and during Phineas and Ferb! And I have also recently subscribed to the fact that everything cannot be "perfect"… there just aren't enough hours in the day!! Thank you for your inspiration! Becky

  25. You obviously have a great focus…that is what I lack most of the time. So easily thrown off track. I guess as long as I'm doing something I'm accomplishing, it just doesn't seem like it. Good for you!

  26. You are truly inspirational to all of us who follow you. Since starting my little ecommerce web site and finding this whole blog world I had no idea existed, it just makes it all come together. Do what you love and will come back to you> Peace to you!

  27. Thanks so much for being real and sharing the ins and out of running a creative business. It is so helpful to those of us who want to do the same. Also your advice about perfection really resonated with me. I often blog about recognizing the the beauty in the imperfection, yet I find myself devoting way too much time on many of my projects trying to get them just right.

  28. Your work is absolutely lovely, and I am happy to read your posts. You are doing what most people only dream about… running their own business with passion. You have found your bliss! You go girl! You inspire me every day.

  29. I need to start making a to do list! I usually keep everything in my head! And that becomes taxing!! Plus I forget things that way!! Great inspirations!!!

  30. People ask me all the time. I must sleep really hard, because I wake up after a few hours ready to do what I love. I juggle it while raising my kids and have a bit of help but I would never go back to full time work.
    love your list.

  31. Marian, I could be your twin! Especially your lists and
    "organized piles". You truly are the Proverbs 31 woman:

    13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.
    15 She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. 16 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
    17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. 18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night. 19 In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

  32. I love hearing from others who would rather create than clean. Right now I have craft stuff everywhere and a dirty house under that. But, I am really having fun. My kids are grown, so I don't have that concern. Mine is on the other end…I'm leaving now to take my 89 year old mother to the doctor.

  33. I love hearing from others who would rather create than clean. Right now I have craft stuff everywhere and a dirty house under that. But, I am really having fun. My kids are grown, so I don't have that concern. Mine is on the other end…I'm leaving now to take my 89 year old mother to the doctor.

  34. This was a very informative post, and encouraging to me. I have recently started an interior design business and a blog. I have a 2 year old daughter, a partner, home,full time career and it is hectic. To know that someone else out there is doing the best they can to juggle their life/work- it makes me sigh in relief. I don't feel so bad about the cheerios I am spying on the living room floor!Nothing is perfect and all we can do is our best, thank you for reminding me of that.

  35. What a wonderful post!

    My furniture business is just beginning to take off. The timing of your seeds of wisdom is perfect. I literally soak up every bit of advice you have to share.

    I anticipate each and every post of yours and your inspiration has been invaluable to me.

    I've got a great new sander, I'm about to buy a Graco sprayer and set up a booth in my garage so I don't have dust everywhere! Thanks to you I'm ready to take me space and my furniture up a notch.

    Let the fun begin!


    Starview Sonnet

  36. Ok, Marion. You made me cry with that post. You are an inspiration and make me feel better about my dirty corners. You sound like me but I don't have the business end up & running….yet! You're the best – Jen

  37. A fellow blogger sent me a link to this post (I don't know how I missed it!!) You truly ARE an inspiration- I've been so frustrated feeling as if I'm spinning my wheels trying to get everything accomplished and not getting to finish anything at all. Reading this reminds me that I need to work smarter, not harder. And I am human, can't do it ALL well!!
    Thank you for posting this- you're awesome!
    All the best,

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  40. This post is awesome! I can relate to so many of your specifics and I’m just getting started. Prioritizing, working hard without a break and staying focused on the task at hand are my keys. Thank you so much for sharing yours!

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