Monday, November 7, 2016

Time Management for Quilters

Hello! Today I'm writing about something I've been wanting to write about for some time. This is a requested topic every time I've asked for suggestions to post...and so I hope you'll enjoy some of my thoughts on time management for quilters.
Of course some of my thoughts are about time management in general, but

(This post Time Management for Quilters appeared first on A Quilting Life). 

I've also added in ideas to help with time management specifically for quilters

  10 Time Management Tips

 for Quilters

1.  First, take a few minutes to do just a bit of planning every day.

Choose whatever time works for you. I like to plan in the evening for the next day because by that time the plans for the following day are pretty much settled. You don't need to spend a lot of time on this as you'll see in step two!

2. Choose three things that are the highest priority.

Some organizers advocate only having three things on the list for the day. Sometimes that's not possible, but I do like to keep a manageable number of projects that I feel are top priority for the day. If I know I'm going to have extra time in the sewing room I'll make a list of three household tasks and three tasks for the sewing room. Sometimes items on my list are as simple as cutting out one block depending on how busy the day is going to be.

3.  Meal plan regularly.

I really feel like meal planning is one of the biggest keys to organization and time management. I like to plan for two weeks at a time. I make a list of 5-6 meals for each week with a list of ideas for lunches. Then I shop for those two weeks at once.  What usually happens is that the menu plan and shopping items end up lasting a little longer than the two week period since we tend to eat out once or twice a week.  Having menu ideas written down with the ingredients in the fridge and pantry has always been a real time-saver for me. 

4.  Have a household cleaning plan.

I do the same chores on the same days every week (on Mondays I clean bathrooms, and on Tuesdays I dust...etc.). Recently I've been following along with Clean Mama who posts every day on Instagram what the chore is for the day. It's a good reminder, and if you can keep to the schedule the chores don't take as long. I do extra chores on Fridays or Saturdays as time allows.  Right now I'm trying to also do a 30-day de-clutter challenge to get ready for the holidays.

5.  Keep lists of quilting projects.

I feel like lists are another key to staying on top of things in the sewing room. First...keep your sewing project lists in the sewing room. I'm not sure why it took me so long to start doing this, but it sure has been easier to use these lists since I've started keeping them close to my work space.

Here are the three lists I keep:
  • Current projects
  • Long-term works in progress
  • Bucket list projects that I want to do (this is constantly changing)

 6.  Have realistic time frames in mind for projects.

This is another thing I've really picked up on over the last year or so. I used to have time frames in my mind that were in reality much shorter than the time it really takes to complete different quilting tasks (cutting out a project, adding borders to a finished quilt center, binding, etc.).  Since I've started being more realistic about the time it takes to do things I've found that my scheduling is working out a lot better.

7.  Schedule time to clean and organize in the sewing room.

Just as I do certain household cleaning tasks on the same day each week, I also try to keep a regular schedule in my sewing room. Of course it's not always possible, but I feel that having a plan in place does help me stay on top of things.

On Saturdays I trim scraps from the week, and I try to trim left-overs from projects as soon as a project is finished.

8.  Keep surfaces clean.

I guess this is something that I probably learned first from cleaning expert Peter Walsh...flat surfaces are meant to be clear. Now, there are days and weeks that go by when I'm really busy that this doesn't just get done regularly, but in general I try to clean off my ironing board, sewing table, and cutting table each evening or at the very least each week. 

Not only does this seem to make a difference in a practical sense, but I also think that it mentally makes it easier to be more productive.

9.  Leave something ready to sew every time you finish for the day.

I've been doing this for a couple of years now, and it really helps. On days when I might only have ten minutes to sneak into the sewing room I can usually accomplish some chain piecing, pressing, and cutting...and leave something ready to sew for the next time.

10.  Be flexible and have fun.

Of course some sewing has deadlines: a project is due for a magazine, you are making a Halloween costume for a child, or your daughter has a birthday. But a lot of sewing is for fun...because we love it! Try to keep it fun and relaxing by being flexible with your expectations and self-imposed deadlines.

I hope some of these ideas will help you...and that you can truly enjoy this wonderful hobby and past time.  Please leave any of your tips in the comment section below so we can learn from each other.

Thanks so much for stopping by!


Little Quiltsong said...

Loved your post Sherri! Great ideas shared! Some are ones I also do, and some are ones I need to incorporate. Thank you for these Tips!

Patty D from NC said...

great post!

Paula Louceiro said...

Loved your post Sherri. Thank you so much for sharing.

Robby H. said...

Some thoughtful (filled?) ideas here. Any good tips for someone who doesn't have a dedicated sewing space? I finally timed myself and it doesn't take as long as I used to think to set up my sewing on the dining table. But there is no 'ten minutes' of sewing here. Thoughts on how to organize other aspects so you can make the most out of the time you hog the dining area for sewing?

Sukochi Lee said...

Thank you, thank you!! I am drowning and this is just what I needed today!!!

Hildy said...

Thank you for these great tips! I really need to clean my sewing space and organize my stash more oftenand this was just what I need to get myself motivated to actually do it.

Karen said...

Thanks for the tips! I know my quilty list for today is to put away my purchases from my trip to Ohio Amish Country over the weekend and then sew my Lone Star diamonds (the strips are together) for a class tomorrow. I hope to get some more straightening up done in the fabric room as well.

Janet said...

An excellent post with some very good tips... thank you for lots of great ideas

JanetD said...

Love your tips. I do most of them. I find having a list of projects really helps. And sometimes when I know I'm not going to have any other time to see during that day, I'll set my timer for 10-15 minutes and when time is up, I'm happy at least I got a little time doing something. In my sewing room!

Susan Smith said...

I loved this post! Very timely for me!

Lucy said...

Thanks for your ideas. I do some of them. I have a small calendar book that I post every day what I do, like shop for material, wash it, cut, sew block, layer with batting, put binding on. PROJECT DONE. If is fun to see what I accomplish each month. I also notice the days when there is a blank day and no quilting or sewing gets done. Love your blog and what you make.

Rosemary B❤️ said...

It is good to have a schedule.
I am going to try to get back into some kind of routine. Life has been bumpy. I love looking at all of your creations. You are so inspiring

Michelle @ From Bolt to Beauty said...

Fabulous post! Thanks for challenging the way we all think about and plan for our everyday objectives. : )

peggy hendrick said...

Thankyou!...We all need a little reminder about how to stay focused...I tried keeping a list and it promptly got covered up with patterns, fabric etc...I've also tried to limit the number of "free" patterns, ideas, etc. that I print off the internet...I ask myself - is this something I am really excited about making? it within my sewing/quilting ability or will I get frustrated and end up not making it? I have any fabric I can use or will I end up spending money to make it?....I try to keep projects at hand to sew when I have a few minutes...Need to get on that cleaning wagon, though, good ideas...I try to make menus up weekly...will have to try the two week thing...

Blithe Quilts said...

What great ideas! Especially, leaving something to sew for the next time. I find that it works better for me to work in shorter bursts. I learned the hard way about setting realistic expectations for the time it takes to finish a project.

Summer said...

Nice tips ♥

Bluequilt said...

I love your tips and if you have a planner, it helps also to take time to list things that need to be done. Also take time to thank God.

Annabelle Hammer said...

Thank you so much for these tips! When I retired from my 31-year career with the federal government in Washington DC, I thought I would have 8 hours a day to quilt. NOT! When I was still employed, my husband and I would share grocery shopping, chores, errands, and cooking. Now he tells me that I can/should do all of that work as I'm retired now. :-( So I definitely need organization and time management skills so that I can maximize my quilting time. I do volunteer for the local Project Linus chapter also, picking up and distributing finished blankets and afghans and working with local school groups. I am very happy to do this community service.

Sally K said...

Just wanted to say thank you for the tips. As I am gearing up for the final Christmas projects and winding down for the end of the year, these will be very helpful. I hope to be well organized to start 2017. (Can't wait to try out the pillow project too!)

gailss said...

This is such a great list of "time management" items and thank you so much Sherri. You always share the best info and I am always learning new tips and tricks....these are great.
Will have to copy and see how I do....thanks!

Mary Howland said...

Good ideas. Thanks!

Cheryl B. said...

Like Annabelle above I also recently retired and have taken on everything I can to make my husband's life easier. I get very scattered with all there is to do. This was a really good article and I am implementing several of the suggestions. Thank you.

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