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.
16 thoughts on “3 Tips on Making Time to Sew Daily: #sewtake20”
I LOVE this advice. I recently had a meltdown because creativity had not made it into the schedule as I made the transition to married life. My husband came up with the idea that Thursday evenings are mine. I usually go to bed at the same time he does now, which cuts into the time I used to spend staying up late to quilt. Thursdays are my day to stay up late and sleep in so I can get concentrate me time once a week.
LikeLiked by 1 person
That’s wonderful that he supports you in this decision to carve back some time for yourself!! Congratulations to you both.
Very timely post…I just made a list last night of the things I would like to accomplish this week. I even broke the list down into small parts: find fabric for binding, make binding, sew on the binding, etc. Just do it!!
I LOVE making lists broken into small steps!!! It is SO gratifying to cross something off the list! I will also admit to sometimes adding a small step that I had originally forgotten to my list just so that I can cross it out 🙂 Good luck with your list! Small steps add up to big progress!!
LikeLiked by 1 person
YES. I get that question often (how do you find the time?) and it’s ALWAYS that I make the time! Quilting means so much to me that it has to be daily!
I like your tips!! Gonna give them a try. Part of my problem is dumping other detritus — paperwork, whatever — on my sewing table. I have to keep from doing that or all 20 of my minutes will just be spent clearing off my workspace!!
Fine, fine advice! *elbow bump* I find that planning to sew after the daily chores are done motivates me to get the unpleasantness out of the way quickly. My sewing time is so restorative that it’s well worth making the time for it.
What 4 beautiful smiles enjoying summer in our wonderful state! Kitty, thank you so much for this post. I have none of the demands on my time that all of you young mothers have. My 2 great children are grown and thriving, after 42 years of teaching I have retired, and my days are my own. Much as I can see myself making wonderful things, I just don’t even go into my sewing/guest room. I’ve really been giving myself a very hard time about it. Your words ring very true to me. Tomorrow morning I’m going to my sewing room, do something quilty for 20 minutes and congratulate myself for a job well done.
(FYI–this post was blank via your usual email post–I had to get to it via your Today’s Top Posts list)
This is perfect advice, just being able to squeeze in a little sewing each day makes me happier (the laundry can always wait for another day 🙂
Speaking of laundry… you should see the mountain of clothes to be folded on top of my bed. But tonight I plan to #sewtake20! I’m giving binding a shot. You think it’s enough time? We shall see….
You are right: everyone needs a little ‘me time’ to do something to please themselves. It isn’t selfish.
Shared your post on FB and I am going to really try and “Just Do It”. I say it all the time to others, it’s time to practice what I preach.
If ever there was anyone who can’t find time to sew, it is surely a young mother of three.
I love your advice Kitty. I need to “stop shoulding myself”, LOL.
Lots of times when I can’t find the get up and go to do something, I actually say “Just Do It!” to myself. It works!