We all have busy lives. Whether it’s work, family, hobbies, friends, or chores that fill your days, there’s always something that needs to be done. As a full time mom with a newborn, I know that there is an endless list of chores–laundry, dishes, cooking, vacuuming, gardening, cleaning up after two busy toddlers, did I mention laundry?–on top of keeping my kids alive and of course loved and engaged in fun activities that easily fills my days and nights. I’ve been asked a few times how I find time to sew with three kiddos include a newborn. My answer is simple: I make time.
At first I felt guilty taking time to sew and quilt when there was always a long list of chores that could be done. But over the past few years, I’ve learned that I need to make time for myself in order to keep my sanity. Taking time regularly to create something beautiful (since that’s always what we’re doing when we quilt, right?) helps me to recenter and rejuvenate. “Me time” is a necessary part of my existence as a happy full time mom and wife. I know that now.
So how to “make time” in an otherwise jam packed schedule?
1. Set small attainable goals
For me, setting small attainable goals has the most success in helping me find regular sewing time while staying motivated and enjoying the process. As a yoga teacher, students often struggled with maintaining a personal practice at home. The best advice I heard during one of my teacher trainings was to set your bar LOW: make it your goal to roll out your mat and stand on it each day. That’s it. Roll out your mat. Stand on it. Goal accomplished! Once you are standing on your mat, it’s so easy to take a deep breath and do yoga. Rolling out the mat is the hardest part.
The same applies for sewing. Set your bar low. Make it your goal to step into your sewing space each day. Set a timer for 20 minutes and aim to create for 20 minutes per day. If the 20 minutes passes and you’re still going strong (and don’t have any crying kids or impending business meetings), go ahead and take 20 more!
2. Just do it!
Nike was on to something. Take it from me, if you spend the entire day thinking you will take your 20 minute sew break later, there’s a good chance you will be too tired when “later” finally comes. Regardless of whether your goal is to go for a run, clean the bathroom, write a letter to your best friend, or sew for 20 minutes, it’s best to accomplish it sooner than later. Besides, who doesn’t want to start their day with a “win”? Get the hard stuff out of the way early in the day, and you will be surprised how much lighter and more motivated you feel. Who knows–maybe you’ll be inspired to find time to take 20 more later that day!
3. Be gentle with yourself
This is the most important rule, in my opinion. We are our own worst critics, and it’s easy to fall into the pit of “I can’t” or “I should have”. I wish I could remember who told me: “Don’t should on yourself.” (say it out loud–get it?). Should is such a helpless word. The past has passed; there’s no changing it and no use in thinking about what you should have done. Think instead of what you will do now.
Try to create new habits with a gentle heart. If you currently are not consistently sewing at all, maybe make your goal to #sewtake20 four out of seven days this week. (Remember tip #2, though–getting those days under your belt early in the week will keep you feeling pumped and motivated). Once you get into the rhythm of MAKING time for yourself, even if it’s only 20 minutes at a time, up the ante for your goal and try taking time for yourself five days a week. Before you know it, you’ll be taking those 20 minutes daily, feeling efficient, and seeing progress on your formerly stagnant sewing projects.
My friends Stephanie at Late Night Quilter and Mandy at Mandalei Quilts and I are trying a new project to help us make time for ourselves. We’re using hashtag #sewtake20 on social media to help track our progress, and create a support network for those of you who want to join us. We invite you to post your progress, your challenges, and your quilting eye candy so that we can all help encourage and inspire each other.
Are you feeling overwhelmed at your mountainous to do list? #sewtake20
Feeling like there’s just no way you can accomplish your goal? #sewtake20
Want to find a way to make more time for yourself?
The wise Lau Tzu said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Taking 20 minute sewing escapes daily WILL result in a finished project. And you just might be a happier, more relaxed mom, wife, friend, or coworker to boot. I know I am.
How do you make time to sew?
I’m linking up with Late Night Quilter’s Tips & Tutorials Tuesday.