I’ve had a huge backlog of work for years. It’s a product of poor time-management early on in my career and being really good at what I do. I’ve been working hard to balance the scales, as it were. I’ve limited my incoming work to almost no new repairs, and I’m dedicated to picking an old job off the backlog pile every week to shuffle into my current workflow. This week, I’m setting the neck on an old Gibson ES-125 (oddly, the second one of these in my shop this week.)
When I was ten, I “discovered” the Beatles. In short order, I dug out my mom’s old guitar from the closet and worked out how to play Day Tripper. Thus began my métier of guitar, music, physics, and the language of feelings. A multitude of lamps came to life to illuminate my journey through the shadowed paths in my life because of this beginning.
I owe a lot to the Fab Four. Holding you in the light, John.
I’ve been blessed to have so much work during this unusual time. I like to think that it’s a sign of how much people rely on playing music to process their life experience. It’s only Tuesday, and I’ve already been productive. Finishing off a refret on a beautiful Santa Cruz dreadnaught, converted a Strat into a lefty for a new player, laid out a repair process of a Larriveé that’s seen some better days, and stripped down a resonator guitar and rebuilt. Fun times.
I’ve been working for myself for almost two decades. I’ve learned so much in that time, but one lesson I’m still learning is how to create space in my life. When you are the only employee of your business, all the tasks fall to you. That’s neither good nor bad. That’s just how it is.
Over the years, it’s taken me a lot of practice and failures to learn that I should not sacrifice my personal time and space to “get a little more done.” My healthy life includes restoring stringed instruments, cleaning my shop, caring for my tools, bookwork, answering emails, keeping inventory; it also includes taking days off to hike the lakeshore, harvesting the garden when the crop is in, doing schoolwork, helping out a friend who’s in need, visiting family, and sitting quietly with nothing else going on.
This week has been a busy one for me. I’ve completed two major projects, sent them home with their owners, worked on psychology and sociology schoolwork, and hiked the South Shore in beautiful 70ºF weather with a pal.
One of the most vital lessons I rely on is the one that says:
Never rush the work.
This goes hand in hand with the one that says:
Taking time to relax creates a system of success and skill in work and in life.