Welcome to my blog. I was inspired by the book, "Blogging for Bliss" by Tara Frey.

Welcome to my blog. I was inspired by the book, "Blogging for Bliss" by Tara Frey. My goal is to share a little about my life, and a lot about my longarm quilting business, Lone Tree Designs.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Snippets of Time: How to be Efficient

My interpretation of  Bonnie Hunter's Double Delight Mystery 
   The first three months of this year have absolutely flown by!  I have been running like crazy, and have managed to get quite a bit done in the little snippets of time that I find between events, working on customer quilts, and time with family.
  I am often asked how I manage to get so much done.  That's an interesting question, and it's worth talking about.  First of all, there are people that get way more done than I do.  However, those people don't sleep as much as I do:)  Sleep is a priority in my life, and that's my first tip:

1)  Be well rested.  No one is as productive or efficient as they can be when they are running around sleep deprived.  Our bodies and minds are so intimately connected that our brains will not operate well if we don't take care of our bodies.  For me, that means at least 7 hours of sleep per night...even more than that a couple of nights a week.

 2)  Take time out for fun!  As you all know, I am a professional longarm quilter.  I work from my home.  In other words, I could work 24/7.  At any given time, I have at least three months worth of work hanging out in my sewing studio just waiting for my attention.  It is so important for me to spend time working on my own projects, going to guild meetings and retreats, and hanging out with family.  Those activities feed my creativity and make me more efficient overall because when I do work on customer quilts, I am refreshed, motivated, and ready to create beauty on their work.

Tula's Neighborhood in progress from the
Moda Be My Neighbor free pattern.
 3)  Let go of perfectionism!  Done is GOOD!  Some people are so paralyzed by their perfectionism that they cannot manage to finish anything.  They are constantly unsewing seams to try to make them perfect, or second guessing design choices to the point where they can't make a decision.  I often tell my students that in quilting there really isn't a "right" or a "wrong" choice.  It is really a matter of taste and preferences.  Your quilt is your quilt, and you can make it however you want it.  That being said, wait for it...

4)  Do things as accurately as possible the first time.  In other words:  cut accurately, sew an accurate 1/4 seam, press properly, trim, if necessary.  Each step in the process needs to be done well in order for the end product to turn out great.  I don't waste a lot of time re-cutting, ripping out mistakes, and re-sewing because I try very hard to focus on each step and make it right.

5)  Finally, and most importantly, use the small snippets of time that are in each of our days between the other things we "have to" do.  If we wait for several hours in a row in order to work on a project, we never work on that project.  I have found that whether its house cleaning or sewing, we can get a lot done in 15 minute increments of time.  Do you need to leave the house for an appointment in 20 minutes?  Don't waste that time waiting to leave!  Pick up the living room, throw the dishes in the dishwasher, or, better yet, press the half squares that you sewed before bed the night before. Use that time to gather fabrics for a project, cut out a couple more blocks, or sew a few seams.  Those little bits of effort really add up over time.  Nothing on tv in the evening but reruns?  Go to your sewing space and make a block or two.  Those blocks will turn into rows, and then into quilts!

  We all have more time than we realize.  We just don't use it as well as we could.  Our lives tend to be overscheduled and more busy than is really good for us.  In order to make the most of our leisure time, we have to be strategic.  Plan ahead in order to be ready to use those little snippets of time.
Kim Diehl's Simple Whatnots Club has been a fun
activity this winter.  Cute, small projects!
 I literally have small quilts all cut out and in plastic sandwich baggies all ready to go if I get a few minutes to work.  I use plastic storage containers to keep projects organized and ready to go.  If I have time on a Sunday afternoon, I might cut out a bunch of blocks or a whole quilt and put it back in the plastic box to work on at another time.  Sometimes when I meet with friends to "sew" for a few hours, I don't even bring my sewing machine. I just bring stuff to cut and have organized for another day.  Being organized and ready to go is essential to being efficient.  Perhaps that a blog topic for another day :)