Wednesday, February 23, 2011

making time, finding balance

since starting this blog, i've been applying my brain to how i can eek out more sewing time in my already overfull life. i want my hobby to stay in it's proper place yet get some attention. i'm prone to go off the deep end and ignore everything else when i have a project going, so i had to come up with some guidelines for myself to keep the balance. yesterday i hit on a few good strategies.

1. first things first. i do not allow myself to touch a project until the basic, essential tasks are accomplished for the day. that means personal scripture study, feeding & dressing my children, getting their school work moving along, not necessarily having the entire house spic and span. knowing the most important things are taken care of allows me to focus on my projects without any feelings of guilt nagging away while i try to create.

2. managing time.  get up before the children do! i work faster and better, get stuff done when there are no little people around. i also schedule time in my day where i can focus on sewing because it's important to me. if i know i've got a bit of time coming, it's easier to be patient and focus on what is at hand instead of always thinking "when can i sew?!" when i do give myself time to sew/blog/read, i set time limits and really try to stick to them, with a little flexibility to allow for a good stopping place.

3. do it right, right away.  i have to remind myself my children come first and their needs are important. it always saves me time in the long run if i am willing to stop immediately and take care of their needs. then they aren't hanging around nagging me, whining while i get more frustrated and upset. instead of brushing them off, i do what they need right away, and do it fully and correctly. we're both happy and i can go back to work in peace. last night was a perfect example of not doing this. it was bedtime and i sort of gave up, telling the kids what to do, not helping them do it. then the baby fell asleep before getting her breathing treatment and it took a lot longer to do it with her since she was so cranky to be woken up. if i'd just done it all correctly, i'd have saved a lot of time and stress for all of us.

4. be prepared for small bites. if i do a bit of prep work and have stuff set out to work on, i'm able to take advantage of small bits of time that come my way. like yesterday, in the morning before the kids were up, i laid out the top portion of the quilt i needed to stitch on my bed (above photo), then whenever i got a moment, i ran a piece or two through the machine. i got several bits sewn together this way and was able to finish all of it after the kids went to bed.

5. remember what i really want. it's so easy to fritter away time in your day doing nothing. if i ever find myself doing something meaningless, i say to myself, "wouldn't you rather be sewing?" and stop. last night i was going through the junk mail and started browsing catalogues. then i realized, "hey, you could be sewing. you don't really want to look at pretty stuff you don't need and aren't going to buy." i threw them in the recycle bin and got back to my machine. we all have the same number of hours and minutes in a day. being mindful of how we spend them can help us spend them more wisely. if you ever think you don't have time to do something you want, look at what you are doing instead and make choices.


  1. Great advice and things I struggle with daily. I was just telling my husband yesterday that on the days I sew, it seems I get nothing else done. I've been guilty so many times of telling the kids "just a minute" and then getting frustrated when they frustrated I'm not giving them my time. My new rule is that I close the door to my sewing room as soon as bus time comes. That way I don't get lured in!


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