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Thread: How do you organize your time?

  1. #1
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    How do you organize your time?

    My sewing studio is organized to the point I can find what I need and most things have a home. Fabric is ruler folded, fat quarters are in drawers, strips, squares, and bricks have their individual places, as do all my tools of trade.

    Now I'm working on organizing my time. Mostly I have household obligations and family matters taken care of before entering my studio. But my day seems to get away from me too quickly without a lot of sewing completed.

    I'm trying to get my UFO's under control and have completed several this year. But I do get distracted and find I need more discipline to stay on task. So I'm asking for help or ideas on how you manage your time in your sewing room and perhaps I can glean from your responses to become more efficient in the use of my time. Thank you in advance for what ideas you can share.

    I am retired, married, care for my 91 year old mother and have a 21 yr old grandson living with us that is working and going to college.
    SEW MUCH FUN!

  2. #2
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    ​I clean house once a week, make meal because my family does like to eat. Some days I sew a lot and sometimes it might be a week before I do any sewing.

  3. #3
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    You sound like you have plenty on your plate. Family obligations come first. Your mother needs your time right now and even though your grandson spends considerable time away from home everyday, his needs must be on your mind.

    Quilting should be a time just for you and should be relaxing and fun. Since I live alone, (I'm a little old lady, almost your mother's age), I have none of your responsibilities. When I want to carve out more time to quilt, I just put off stuff that I don't enjoy doing and just open a can of soup for dinner, or make an uncomplicated salad for lunch and quilt happily away. My sewing room is a total mess, but I decided that the best way to organize it is to make a bunch of quilts and donate them. That way I decrease my stash, use up those spare pieces of batting, and shrink the stacks, bins, totes, shelves of fabric scraps. That eliminates all the time to organize.
    Last edited by SillySusan; 10-13-2018 at 12:00 AM.

  4. #4
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    SillySusan has said exactly what I was going to say - your sewing time should be a relaxing time for you.

    There are only 24 hours in a day and, at the moment, not many of them can be used as ‘Me-Time’. Could you possibly explain to your family that you need some time to yourself - perhaps one afternoon or a few hours a week - so that you can have a break from your commitments and do something you want to do?

    It is great that your studio is so well organised. This means that whenever you can escape there you will not waste time searching for something you need.
    Last edited by Moira in N.E. England; 10-13-2018 at 01:32 AM.

  5. #5
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    I am fairly good at time management and have found setting specific times and taking breaks really helps my productivity.
    it does depend on what I am working on how I go about it but, a ( normal weekend just get to sew day) I allow myself 1/2 an hour to get organized, decide what I’m going to start with. Usually either time on a ufo or jumping into a specific project I’m in the midst of. When I am prepped and ready to start sewing I set a timer for 45 minutes. When the timer goes off I might finish a seam, iron something- whatever ( no more than 5 minutes) then I leave the room. Go get a drink, swap laundry from washer to dryer, get a snack, go to the bathroom, whatever- minimum 15 minute break. Then I reset the timer and get back at my project, or I set aside that ufo or whatever and work on something else. It is amazing how much I manage to accomplish doing it this way and the ( forced breaks) keep me from getting backaches, sore hands, shoulders, whatever. Even when I am at the longarm quilting for myself or a customer I set that timer & walk away ever 45 minutes.
    You would need to decide what time works best for you between breaks 45 works great for me. Lunch time I stop, take an hour ( sometimes I am excited- really into my project) and itching to get back to it sooner- sometimes I decide I’ve done enough for a while & I stop. Timers are my friends.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  6. #6
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    I too am retired and live by myself. I also look after my 88 yo Mom who lives next door with my semi-disabled sister. I find that meal preparation uses up a lot of my time.....therefore when I cook I prepare several meals at a time and refrigerate or freeze the extras for those days when I want to sew or don't have the time to cook. I may spend all one day cooking, roasts, soups, casseroles, or multiples of things like pot pies, oatmeal, boiled eggs, roasted veggies, etc. Then I have meals ready to heat and eat. The instant pot and air fryer is a great help in this area.
    As a bonus of aging that spotlessly clean house doesn't matter as much as it used to. Kitchen and baths are the main areas, I focus on, the rest.....whenever the mood strikes or when company is coming LOL

  7. #7
    Super Member WMUTeach's Avatar
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    Time management or time use has been a bane all my life. So, in my professional life, university faculty now retired, I would set aside blocks of time for grading, other time for class planning. Those times were sacred. No student appointments and I did not check e-mail or answer the phone. I tried to respond to e-mail in the morning and at the end of the day. This kept me from getting caught wandering and running down rabbit trails. This significantly increased my productivity and lightened my frustration with just so much to do and so little time.

    Now, your question reminded me that this would work at home. I am still adjusting to retirement and again getting caught in rabbit trails and just lolling about doing nothing. I know I earned the "nothing" time but I also want to be productive with this gift of time. Guess it is time to practice what worked in my office.

    Rhonda Lee, I also remind myself that there are times and seasons when I can sew/quilt with more intensity and times when cobwebs will grow on the rotary blade and machine. As others mentioned your family is first. I have discovered the it may be important to "schedule" me time AKA sewing/quilting time. Love all the stages of your life. Looking back they are all precious.

  8. #8
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    I don't organize my time, I'm retired but have a part time/on call job, which has been quite busy, 175 hours last month and 60 hours this month, so far. My DH wants to know when I'm going to start working part time. LOL Anyway, if I'm not working, I'm in my sewing room. I would say just to decide how/what to prioritize.

  9. #9
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    3 tips that work for me:
    * Once a week I defrost several pkgs of meat in a cake pan in the refrigerator & most days I prepare dinner first thing in the morning so it’s out of the way & ready to go. Laundry is next to kitchen so I do a load at the same time (multi task). Then shower & get ready for the day.
    * Our house is little (1100 sq feet on the main floor) very open & easy to clean which I do Friday. Some Friday’s I do more than others. Wednesday’s I clean bathrooms. To clean up my sewing room (downstairs) I set a kitchen timer for 10 minutes and I can do much in that amount of time.
    * Young adult family member stayed with us a while, he got up 4am made coffee & quietly read a book until time to get ready for work. This taught me I’ve probably had enough sleep by 5am so arise and get moving. Laying awake in bed or dozing really accomplishes nothing in my life.

  10. #10
    Senior Member just janet's Avatar
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    I too am retired and live alone. (I am 80 yrs old) I set a "goal" for each day and don't allow myself to go into my sewing room until that goal is accomplished. It works for me. I don't have a family to care for though. My children are grown and raising their own families. I worry that some day I'll be their "priority", I want to stay independent as long as I'm able. I don't get to quilt every day, but when I do, I really lose myself in it. It's a great hobby and it has become my passion.

  11. #11
    Super Member rryder's Avatar
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    Due to multiple commitments etc. (like most people here) I often feel that I’m running just to stay in the same place, esp. when it comes to my artwork and quilting. One thing that helps me when I’m in a period where I cankt seem to manage my time is to come up with one or two small goals that will move a project forward. And then list the tasks that I need to do to meet those goals. For example, my goals in my studio today are: 1. get some paintings that are destined for a show wired to hang and 2. Make some progress on the t-shirt UFO that’s on my design wall.

    in order to accomplish goal #1 I need to measure, mark, drill holes for screw eyes and insert them, then cut picture wire to size wire and add it. Last night before going to bed I found a space to set them up along with all the tools and materials I would need to accomplish the goal. I can do it all at once if I have a large enough block of time today, or a little here and there as any one of the individual tasks only takes a few minutes if everything is already set up.

    Goal number 2- making progress on the t-shirt quilt takes a little more thought, but I know that I need to square up the parts that are on my design wall, stabilize the remaining t-shirts and cut them so I can finalize the design and begin measuring for the fill strips. I won’t have a large block of time to do all this, but I can find time here and there to square up the already stabilized blocks and maybe also get the last few t-shirts stabilized and rough cut.

    all projects are different, but for me setting goals and breaking them down into small steps really helps when I’m in a time crunch because it helps eliminate the amount of time I spend in my studio looking around and wondering “where do I start”.

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  12. #12
    Super Member wesing's Avatar
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    I am a list person, so I would make a list of all UFO's (could be scary, I know) and prioritize them. If there are a few that could be finished with minimal work I would do those first. The rest could be prioritized by season or recipient. When you go in your studio, take out only the #1 project and work on it for a set amount of time. When the time is up, set it aside and work on something else. Maybe try a new technique, or make a sample of a block you've been wanting to try. Don't start any new big project until you have completed two UFO's. Eventually your backlog will be down to a manageable level it will be easier to organize your sewing time.

  13. #13
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    I saw your post when there were no responses...I was stumped. So many of us are taking care of multiple generations at one time or another. When I realized I was "taking care" of 4 generations, my whole perspective changed. Now generation 1 is gone and 3 are all independent so it's MrOk, me, and the school age grands when they come over. I love everyone's responses. Thanks for sharing your tips. OBTW...generation 4 wants to sew today! Part of my stash plan, is to teach my Grands how to sew so they will want Gram's fabric collection.
    Don't worry spider.
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  14. #14
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oksewglad View Post
    ........... Part of my stash plan, is to teach my Grands how to sew so they will want Gram's fabric collection.
    Nothing like a Gram with a Plan!
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  15. #15
    Power Poster oksewglad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltE View Post
    Nothing like a Gram with a Plan!
    You bet, QE!
    Don't worry spider.
    I keep house
    casually.
    ---Basho
    Nothing's too small...I love miniatures.

  16. #16
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    Often we are pulled into multiple directions, especially when we have so many competing demands on our time.

    Make sure you plan in some "down" time because mostly everything takes longer than you think and you need to have some time to catch up -- or if it all does get done, sometimes you need time to just sit a bit.

    And put time for yourself on your to do list, you are also important and not an after thought. If that includes sewing, that's great. Personally, I plan in bubble baths! We need to take care of ourselves so that we can take care of others.

  17. #17
    Super Member jmoore's Avatar
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    I would love to sew every day but, like most, I still work and have other commitments. In addition, I like to workout at the gym 3 or 4 times a week... it’s part of my regular routine and it’s for my own good. I don’t get to sew at all during the summer months but make sure to schedule a couple of days a week to myself in the fall/winter for sewing. I participate in a Sit & Sew group on Wednesdays and can accomplish a few projects.

    I think if you could block out a specific amount of time on a certain day...you would be surprised how much you could get done.
    attitude is everything...the rest will fall into place.

  18. #18
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    We are retired, 2nd year. First year was terrible, this year a bit better. I sew everyday, usually 3-6 hours. No way would I sew less. Daughter works married with a sixteen year old and 3 dogs. Oldest Granddaughter works two jobs. So everyone can do for themselves.

    When I do laundry once a week I sew until clothes need to be switched or folded and put away. If floors need to swept or mopped I do that first few hours I am up. Dogs have tiny feet, don't drag in much dirt and debris. This fall and winter will change that.

    Eight years ago I said what I want to do for the rest of my life is make as many quilts as I can. And I have and donate to the foster care kids in my county.
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  19. #19
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    Thank you, each one of you. I'm looking at each idea or method discussed and making notes of what I think will work for me. Good information. I was a case worker for years and one of the things we taught our clients was time management. This is not new to me, so I know if discipline of self is used in the capacity its meant for it works every time. I want to be productive and accomplish the goals I've set for myself. All things considered, this is a great life! I am always grateful for this board and how it brings us together for all our quilting needs. It also helps with the rest of our lives.
    SEW MUCH FUN!

  20. #20
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    I'm semi-retired, have a 16 year old son at home, hubby still works full time, and I help care for my dad, my 2 year old niece and my dad's house once a week. Or as needed for him medically or to keep him company. My home and family are priority; sewing is a mere hobby I fit in for sanity.

    I'll address time mgmt. with specifically UFO's in mind (because I need to apply this advice to my own very regularly).

    1. Take a sheet of notebook paper and make 3 columns.
    First column: Description of UFO.
    Second column: Priority-- give each UFO a letter of priority (A, B, or C only).
    If it's only a WIP (as in a quilt you add to , over time, on purpose but not in a rush to finish) give it an asterisk. I find that WIPs don't bother me mentally, whereas UFO's do. And it's not just semantics for me. A WIP is my picnic quilt that I add 2.5 x various length to after every project. No deadline. No defined size. However, a donation quilt that languishes, or a quilt for myself that is started, is a UFO.
    Third column--Date to Finish

    2. Start with the one that has the nearest deadline, or the one that's closest to being finished.

    3. If you gave a UFO a priority C, re-evaluate whether you really have intentions of finishing it. If the answer is yes, because you like it enough to keep going on it, fine. If you can honestly say you liked it then but not now, donate it. Lots of folks like to finish other people's starts. I'm not one of them, but just saying...

    4. For the project you have chosen to finish, make a detailed list of steps you need to take to finish it, and give each a time estimate (Again, I love columns and charts. LOL) . Might be something like: 1. "Measure quilt for binding strips and calculate fabric needed (2 min.) 2. Cut out binding strips and sew them together. (20 min) 3. Iron binding strips and sew to front ( 1/2 hour) or whatever. I have to break my projects down into steps if I have a hard time focusing or getting motivated internally or am under a deadline.

    I also find that having a set time to work uninterrupted (like Sundays after church and nap) is great for knocking out a chunk of a project.

    5. Post this chart near your sewing machine for easy reference/ visual motivation.

    Enjoy the reward of getting a UFO into the FO pile!



    2.

  21. #21
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    So many good suggestions posted here … certainly food for thought. I like to prep things for hand sewing so I can take it with me when I am out visiting, in the car (not the driver), waiting for an appointment, etc. Working on putting up a design wall to see my progress.

  22. #22
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    I am not very organized but I do not have any UFOs. When I start something I really work to get it finished. I often get delayed by things my family need but I go right back to my to my project until the end. I am often called on to knit something or mend so I do have to put off the sewing but it is always back to the project. All knitting projects I do in the evening or little rest periods in the afternoon.

  23. #23
    Super Member KalamaQuilts's Avatar
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    I love being retired and finished with parent caregiving, life is pretty much play time now.
    That said, I well know how time can get away from me, so the only serious organizing I do is limit myself to two hours on line a day.
    Try it! You'll find you have all kinds of time

  24. #24
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Try reversing your priorities/must-do's with your really-want-to-do's but not priorities.
    Typically, we do the priorities first in the day,
    then afterwards allow ourselves to do the things we really want to do!

    There's an old adage, known as Parkinson's Law that states ...
    Work expands to fill the time available.

    I discovered when I started the day with the priorities, sometimes, those priorities seemingly
    would take forever and might not even get onto the more pleasing things I really wanted to do!

    Strange enough, when I reversed the order, and did what I wanted earlier ...
    I still found the time for the must-do's of the day ...
    ... and surprisingly, they took a lot less time!

    Funny how that can work to our advantage!
    Last edited by QuiltE; 10-15-2018 at 09:30 AM.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Sew many ideas ... just sew little time!!
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  25. #25
    Super Member Darcyshannon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltE View Post
    Try reversing your priorities/must-do's with your really-want-to-do's but not priorities.
    Typically, we do the priorities first in the day,
    then afterwards allow ourselves to do the things we really want to do!

    There's an old adage, known as Parkinson's Law that states ...
    Work expands to fill the time available.

    I discovered when I started the day with the priorities, sometimes, those priorities seemingly
    would take forever and might not even get onto the more pleasing things I really wanted to do!

    Strange enough, when I reversed the order, and did what I wanted earlier ...
    I still found the time for the must-do's of the day ...
    ... and surprisingly, they took a lot less time!

    Funny how that can work to our advantage!
    Yes, I was starting the day with sewing for a while and everything still got done. May need to try that again

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