I strive to be a lazy over-achiever. I have read countless books on efficiency, productivity, time management, and work-life balance. I really, really like to make things so that I can look back on my time spent and know that made good use of my time. This is one of the big reasons I like sewing.
When I went back to work in April, I expected my sewing time to essentially halt, but I found that I was able to keep up with my maternity leave output by rearranging the way I spend my time. Here are the five biggest ways I’ve found to save time in other areas to make more room for sewing.
- Stop watching TV with your partner. It’s likely you’re compromising on what you’re watching anyway. I made a quiet shift to only watching what I really, really wanted to and have drastically cut down on my TV time. I was using TV as a way to get some easy quality time with my husband when we were both really tired. Except it’s not actually quality time. Now, we will play a quick game of cards and then go our separate ways. I connect better with him in those 15 minutes than during a 45-minute episode of whatever aaaannnnd I get an extra 30 minutes of sewing time.
- Outsource housework. This doesn’t necessarily mean paying someone to clean your house, but I suggest making sure that everyone who lives with you does their fair share. Emotional labour is a constant topic in our household and we are constantly working to strike a balance in the division of chores in our lives. Knowing that I don’t have to even think about cleaning the bathrooms, taking out any kind of waste, send birthday cards or get groceries frees up time and mental energy.
- Make meal prep and clean-up easier. I always mealplan a week in advance. This not only makes it easier to decide what to have and make sure we have ingredients, but also allows me to save time by bulk prepping things. For example, I’ll make a double of rice if I know we’re having it again later in the week or I’ll chop the veggies for tomorrow night’s dinner while I have the knife and board. Often I’ll make a second of whatever (shepherd’s pie, lasagna, whatever) and chuck one in the freezer. I also live by my crockpot and breadmaker. Why cook when an appliance can do it for you?
- Reclaim your weekend. I read an article recently (which I can’t seem to find now) that made the argument that Saturday and Sunday should not be treated as two more week days where you just do more work. The article argued that the weekend should be time to recharge and do things you enjoy (like sewing, duh!), so we changed our routine to have Mike get groceries on Wednesdays. This makes getting groceries take less time, I get an hour in the house alone (to sew, obvi) and we have time on the weekend to do other, more fun things.
- Work smarter, not harder. A couple of years ago, I thought I would be applying for a new job closer to home, which sent me into a tailspin of resume-padding. In one academic year, I took an online course to be an FSL specialist, took on a student teacher, signed up to be a dance workshop facilitator to other teachers, and headed up pretty much every club that needed a teacher-supervisor. Obviously, I burnt out pretty fast and it turned out that I didn’t even want the job when it was offered to me. The next academic year (whilst pregnant, because that’s already hard enough), I vowed to be effective instead of efficient. Efficiency refers to doing a lot of things in a short amount of time, whereas effectiveness is all about doing impactful things well. I decided that I would focus on student achievement, communicating that achievement to parents and things that brought me joy (like running my sewing club). Anything outside of those three main goals was a hard no. No one is going to give you a medal for staying at work until 8 p.m. to decorate your classroom. They will commend you for doing well what you need to do and no one cares how long it takes you.
Please let me know of any genius hacks you have that save you time and let you sew more!