This is a tough love kind of topic. I try to be a compassionate person, but sometimes the consequences of giving up and dropping the ball is a high price to pay. Especially in the bridal alterations business. I would rather push you to the finish on some serious work than have you face the aftermath of not seeing your work through to the end. Truly, life is easier to deal with by hunkering down and getting it done. 


For Emergencies Only

First off, hunkering down is only for emergencies, when there just doesn’t seem to be enough time to get something done that you have already committed to do. Some of the time, we get too tight on our sewing schedule because of poor time management. But I’d say more often than not, the time crunch was caused by things outside of your control. Family emergencies, sickness, dress construction, bride drama, etc.  I get it. It happens to me too. I once was riding in an ambulance with my mother who had just broken her hip, and had two separate brides driving long distances on their way to my home for fittings. My daughter went to my house and did the fittings. It went fine, other than trying to drive home and do my sewing when my mom would go to sleep at night at the hospital. That was a tough year. I’ve had my share of hunkering down.


What does it mean to “Hunker Down”?

Now to the nitty gritty. Hunker down. What exactly does that mean? To settle yourself down and work in a completely focused mode. All energy is focused on getting your work done.  Pretend you are a cell phone. If you want to conserve your power, you only do short texts and stay off all the bells and whistles. Your body only has so much energy to give you. If you spend that energy on emotional drama, your ranting to friends and family will drain your energy. You can literally run out of energy before you get started on your sewing.  Have you ever had a child complain about their homework or chores for so long that you tell them they could have had it done in the amount of time they spent complaining? Well… adults do that too. 

Plan The Process

Plan your work down to the half hour time allotment. Literally sit down with a piece of paper and write down the process step by step.  Then write down how much time each step will take.  Then write in food breaks. Completely fill in the steps until that eye twitching dress is completely planned. If you have young children, your next step is to figure out child care. Do these arrangements with as little energy and drama as possible.  After the job is done, you can go into detail with much gratitude for their help. 

If you are doing this before you sleep, work over in your mind the best strategy for getting the work done efficiently. Then do what it takes to get some deep sleep. Speaking of sleep, I find that if I get up early, like 4:30am or 5am, and start working then, I am amazed at how much I can have done before 8am. We all have different sleep and work cycles, but you may want to give this a try if you are trying hunker down mode.

Talk as little as possible with a soft voice to any family members that need to know that you don’t want to be disturbed. Use as little energy as possible to get yourself isolated in your sewing room. Now, silence your phone, bring in some water, close the door and take that paper and completely focus on the first step. Don’t worry about the rest of the steps. That can make you panic and take away your focus and energy. Apply all your focus to the step you are on. Then, of course, the next step, etc.  Take the paper with you as you eat and review the next few steps in your mind as you eat your food. Check phone messages and text short replies if needed while you eat too. Don’t call anyone if at all possible. Use only short texts. And only during food breaks. Be sure to stay hydrated. Keep moving along, no breaks today, just forward progress, moving on to the next step. 


Manage Your Stress!

Try to stay as unemotional as humanly possible. Stress takes away energy fast. Sometimes we just have to cry, yes, I know that it happens.  But get your focus back as quickly as possible. Hunkering down means you turn your complete attention to the task at hand. You zone out everything else. It’s actually quite amazing how much you can get done when you get into this “zone”.  Remember that hydration is part of your work focus. But don’t let it distract you. Keep off your phone. 

It’s more important to work carefully than to just frantically throw the dress under the machine. Unpicking mistakes will take away from your time. Do your best work. It really doesn’t take that much more time to do an impeccable job. The important thing is to keep moving forward without stopping. As soon as one step is done, move smoothly on to the next. Just keep moving. That’s part of being in the zone. 


I hope this helps. I really do feel love and kindness for you all, but like I said, getting the work done can be far easier emotionally than the messy consequences of falling apart and not getting the work done. 

Take care of yourself,

Dee Dee Anderson