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Staying motivated and keeping focused

This new house business could easily consume my every spare moment, if I let it.

Fact of the matter is, I need to get projects moved from the PENDING and WIP stacks to the DONE, DELIVERED and PAID status.  New projects for adult beginning quilting classes and summer sewing camps/classes have to be submitted to the quilt shops in March.  I have an upcoming juried quilt show deadline to meet in late March, as well.  (I haven’t even started cutting on that quilt top!) Then, there’s the matter of de-stashing in advance of the move.  There are some things I just don’t want to move to the new house.

I work full-time and operate my sewing business on the side. The transition from work to home to studio is a challenge some most days.  Errands to run, a dog to walk and chores to do.  But once I’m in my studio, I am fine.  It’s getting to the studio that’s the challenge. I started marking off Monday and Thursday afternoons on my calendar as studio time (unless I have a work obligation).  I am in my studio by 4 p.m. – no ands, ifs or buts.  On Sunday, I plan my sewing activities for the week, tidy my studio and prep materials for the projects I plan to work on during the week.  This bit of planning and prep time has made a world of difference in my productivity.  My “pet-me monster” dog doesn’t necessarily appreciate mama’s new focus on sewing, however!

Sewing is typically a solitary endeavor.  One of the ways I try to stay connected and garner inspiration is to attend monthly sew-ins and meetings sponsored by my quilt guild.  I also like to listen to audiobooks or quilting podcasts while I work in my studio (or during my commute).  Creative Mojo with Mark Lipinski or Quilting with Pat Sloan are just two podcasts I encourage you to try.  Streaming music on Pandora is another option.    I feel like I’m not alone if I hear another human voice while I work – whether on audiobook, radio show or kids playing outside.

I’m also taking a cue from one of my prolific quilt guild members – who always has gobs to share at our monthly show and tell.  She work from home and can sew while her data queries are running.  Obviously, I can’t have a sewing machine in the library, but my friend is ALWAYS working on SOMETHING.  I think that’s truly the secret to her prolific quiltiness. So, this morning, I pinned inner borders to a baby quilt while fixing breakfast. I had 15 extra minutes before I had to leave this morning, so the entire inner border pieces were attached, seams pressed and corners squared up. I keep a needlework basket in the family room so I can work on a redwork panel while watching television.  This keeps hubs happy (he counts tv time as spending time together) and me feel like I’m getting something accomplished.

How to you stay focused and productive?  Any tips you care to share?