Note: this post was originally published in August 2018 and updated in February 2020. Things have been crazy here with home improvement projects, moving, and preparing for new fabrics arriving soon. So I thought today would be a good day to revisit a post with Thoughts on Getting More Done. I hope you’ll enjoy these ideas!
Family Tree quilt in Clover Hollow fabrics
5 Tips for Getting More Done
Getting more done is something we all seem to want to accomplish. Writing a post on this topic has been on my list since I did a blog survey back in April. I really appreciate all of the feedback I received from so many who took the time to fill it out! I’ve read over it several times and continue to go back to it to get post ideas. One of the topics a lot of people mentioned was how to get more done. I think it’s easy for all of us to want to do more. We are inundated with images of beautiful things all of the time–which we appreciate and enjoy. But sometimes seeing these things on social media makes it look like it’s effortless to create things of beauty, when in reality it takes a lot of time. I hope some of my tips and ideas will help you to get a jump-start on your creative process this fall so you’ll be able to make time for the things you want to do!
1. Have a Brainstorm Session
I teach composition at a local community college during the fall and spring semesters (just one class each semester), and the biggest problem my students name each year is frustration with writer’s block. I feel like “creativity block” affects each of us as makers as well. We constantly want to be “doing” when in reality, stepping back and taking some time to ponder and plan will often benefit us much more than we might realize. I took some time to do this the other night and was amazed at the ideas I came up with! While I started writing notes on a Post-It pad, I soon had to start over on a legal pad! I made notes about goals and projects in the following categories:
- Home Improvement Projects
- Organization (home, work, and personal)
So take a little time for yourself. Divide a piece of paper into the major categories you want to think about, and just start writing notes and ideas! Don’t worry about specific timelines at this point–just get some ideas on paper when you take time to plan later. You’ll be glad you did!
2. Sort through Works in Progress
I keep works in progress in project boxes or in drawers in my sewing room. It’s good to occasionally go through those boxes and drawers and analyze where I’m at with the projects and plan for a time to work on them. I also have a drawer full of orphan blocks and love looking through those to get inspiration as well! It’s a rare occasion that I don’t eventually finish a project, but there have been times when I’ve decided that I’m just not going to finish something. Sometimes I can set the finished blocks into a smaller project or add them to my orphan drawer where I can make them into something small. (See my post on ideas for orphan blocks here). Many times I’ve found projects that are nearly complete; when I’m able to finish those up it’s a great feeling!
Framed English Paper-Pieced Hexagons in Clover Hollow (tutorial here)
3. Prepare some “ready to sew” projects.
One way I’m able to finish up extra projects is that I always try to have “ready to sew” projects on hand. I have some hand-work that I keep in a project bag that I can take on trips (English Paper Piecing projects like the framed hexagons above are perfect for travel–so many of my hexagons have been sewn on planes and in hotel rooms)! I also try to have projects ready for binding in the evenings when I watch television and visit with my husband. Another aspect of this idea (and one I’ve mentioned before) is that I always try to leave something ready to sew in my sewing room. Even if I only have a short amount of time, it helps to have half-square triangles or flying geese that are ready to be sewn at the machine.
My mostly clean sewing room (it doesn’t always look like this, though)!
4. Regularly do a “quick clean up” of your sewing area.
I know just as well as anyone how quickly a sewing area can go from clean to disaster! It happens regularly. But I’ve also come to realize that even a quick clean up can allow me to get so much more accomplished. (If you are wanting to do a more thorough cleaning, you might enjoy this post on 20 Steps to an Organized Sewing Room with a downloadable PDF checklist). When I do a quick clean up I try to accomplish the following tasks as quickly as possible:
- Clear my ironing board
- Clean and clear my cutting table
- Clear other flat surfaces in the room
- Fill up all of my empty bobbins
- Put all projects away
My favorite fall quilt–Maple Sky (also available in a Mini quilt pattern)
5. Make a Plan
There is a reason I put this planning step at the end of my list when the brainstorming step was first. After writing down your ideas it really is a good idea to let them sit for a while! And after sorting through Works in Progress, preparing some ready to sew projects, and doing a quick clean up, you’re ready to set some goals. I used to set goals yearly and just review them quarterly, but I have been doing my goal setting on a monthly basis lately. Sometimes my plans change rather quickly (like when I realize the holidays are just over 4 months away, and I’d better start working on gifts sooner than later!) and so monthly planning has seemed to work a lot better. Here are a few tips for planning:
- Don’t have more than three goals at a time. If all you want to do is finish one project in a month, break it down into three sections. (If you finish a project earlier than expected you can always go to the next one on the list).
- Use time-blocking for sewing. Uninterrupted sewing time is the most effective for me. I can get a lot done if I can spend at least three hours in my sewing room. Sometimes that’s just not possible. But look at your week and plan to sew when you can sew for longer amounts of time.
- Keep a running list of projects in progress and of those you want to make so you can refer to it often and as needed. This really helps prevent creative block!
More Posts on Productivity and Creativity:
Hopefully this was a good post to take you into the weekend inspired and ready to accomplish your goals! Have a wonderful weekend, and thanks so much for stopping by!
I hope you enjoyed these thoughts on getting more done! Happy Quilting!