Sewing Productivity Video: How to Make More Time to Sew Part 3

Sewing Productivity Video: How to Make More Time to Sew Part 3

We’ve been talking about sewing productivity and how to make more time to sew for the past few weeks. In case you missed them, here are links to part one and part two of this series.

Sewing Productivity Video: How to Make More Time to Sew Part 3

I have a few more tips and ideas to share today and I made a video to recap all these ideas for you.

Batch tasking

Batch tasking is a method you can employ in many systems to make more time.

Don’t run through the same series of steps many times; instead batch steps together and work on many items at once. Cut all those quilt or pattern pieces out at once. Load several bobbins at a time, since this will save you stopping to load another soon.

You can make more time for sewing when you free time from other tasks by batching, too. If you don’t already batch your errands, doing this will make more time for you.  Stop running daily errands, if you do, and run errands quickly on a designated day of the week. Or batch certain errands together more economically.

I usually batch task the bathing of children, baking, computer tasks, and lots of other things. In general, I find that making and doing things in batches helps me to make more time and do more things.


Chunking is when you grab a chunk of time to focus on one project.

Flylady made the 15-minute time chunk a daily thing for millions by encouraging her followers to set a timer for 15 minutes and declutter.

While this is a good use of a time chunk, you can use this productivity trick to do anything you want. It’s a great option for getting started on a task you have been been procrastinating about; you can do anything for only 15 minutes.


For tasks that require more work and focus than 15 minutes, try using pomodoro.

A pomodoro is a 25 minute time chunk. Set your timer for 25 minutes to focus on one specific task. When the timer rings, take a 5 minute break and follow with another pomodoro. You can do three or four rounds like this, and then follow with a longer break.

Pomodoro means tomato in Italian and was named after a kitchen timer like this one.

Pomodoro means tomato in Italian and was named after a kitchen timer like this one.

I have been amazed to find out just how much work I can get done on tough projects in only 25 minutes. I like pomodoros so much that my whole day is often made up of a long string of them.

Alternating between a 25 period or two at my desk and a 25 minute chunk for housework helps me to get everything done and fights burnout from sitting too long at my desk.

Resources and Inspiration

We’ve touched on a lot of topics in this sewing productivity series. Here are links to more information on some of the ideas and systems we have covered here:

Bullet Journal

Ryder Carroll created the bullet journal system, which is a fabulous way to organize your notebooks if you prefer to use pen and paper for your planning and lists. His quick video here is a great overview of the specifics for this easy system.

I use the bullet journal system like Ryder and scribble quick lists. But it is worth noting that the bujo can also be a creative outlet. Many people create beautiful notebooks with this system. You might like to check out Tiny Ray of Sunshine to see gorgeous examples of creative bullet journal layouts and lists.


If you would rather use kanban boards and a digital app to keep track of your great ideas and to do lists, Trello is an excellent option. I use free Trello boards for organizing and keeping track of lots of things. It definitely helps my sewing productivity by holding all my good ideas until I can find the time to get them done.

Eisenhower app

The Eisenhower matrix is easy to work with on paper. But if you prefer to go digital, now there is a free and easy-to-use application for making these four quadrant lists.

FlyLady and Kon Mari

If you are unable to achieve sewing productivity because of a messy house or too much clutter, I know a couple of ladies who may be able to help you.

Flylady has helped millions out of CHAOS (can’t have anyone over syndrome) and gently encourages better routines for keeping clean and organized. Just be aware that she will send you a LOT of emails if you sign up for her list.

While Flylady did help me, no one has helped me to create order in my home as much as Marie Kondo and her KonMari system. She wrote The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and its sequel, Spark Joy. I recommend these books to anyone who could use more order in their home.

Setting up this system will require significant time investment up front, but once you complete your konmari, you will save tons of time and trouble and your home will stay clean and organized with minimal maintenance. My own sewing productivity has increased at least tenfold since I invested the time to konmari my house.

Sewing productivity: make it a priority

Of course, dirty dishes and laundry are everyday things. It is easy to get caught up in all the things you have to do and never get around to sewing all the things you want to sew.

You can use these productivity tricks I have mentioned to minimize your work and make more time to sew. Or you can let the dishes and laundry pile up and make sewing your top priority. I have to admit that sometimes this is my favorite trick for better sewing productivity.

We all have lots to do and limited time. However you find the time, making is important and I encourage you to make more time to sew.

Make More Time to Sew, Part Two

Make More Time to Sew, Part Two

Here are more tips to make more time to sew

Here are more tips to make more time to sew.
Hi! I hope you found part one of this series helpful for making more time to sew. I saved my favorite productivity hacks for this week. Here are new ideas for how to make more time to sew; hopefully these will help you, too.

Automate systems

If you can’t get someone else to go for your groceries, could you streamline and automate your system by meal planning and ordering the groceries online, for example, rather than wandering grocery store aisles with your cart?

An easy system for meal planning definitely helps me to make more time.

Another example: some people do laundry on a certain day of the week, but I can’t imagine that. I do laundry every day, automatically. Or I did, anyway; I battled laundry and gave up significant amounts of time to taking care of laundry with love for my family.

Finally, I managed to eliminate laundry backups and piles by doing a load or two — through to completion of putting them away, without exception — every day.

And my work on getting this system into an automated rhythm paid off for me even further. My husband surprised me by offering to take over this daily management! I happily loaded laundry onto my don’t do list and that gives me more time every day.

Keep reading to see more ideas for easy automation of regularly recurring tasks.

Keep reading to see more ideas for easy automation of regularly recurring tasks.

Just having an automated system of where you always put your keys, phone, and other items, for example, could potentially save many minutes of time spent searching for your things.

The same goes for your sewing tools and space, of course. Keep your machines next to their thread, for example. Arrange a hot iron and pressing board within your reach from your sewing machine when you make patchwork. Always know exactly where everything you need is by having a dedicated place for everything and keep everything always in its place when not in use. These little tweaks can save a lot of time for more sewing.

Speaking of systems:

Take a tip from the king of Twitter. I am talking about Jack Dorsey. Dorsey is one of Twitter’s founders and its first CEO. And when Twitter performance was lagging in 2011, he came back as CEO to turn the company around. Dorsey also founded Square, the app that turns a cell phone into a card scanner and enabled everyday folks to easily accept credit card payments.  For a time, he was CEO of both giant operations.

This productivity whiz shared his secret by talking about how he themes his days. When I read his descriptions about how he handles marketing, communications, and growth on Wednesdays, and culture and recruiting on Fridays, for example, I sensed a way to make more time and I started thinking about this.

Keep it simple, silly: easy to remember themes

For this to work for me, it had to be simple and easy to remember. After working with different iterations of this idea, my current themes for my days include things like:


Mail and management on Mondays. Some folks might prefer to use the OHIO rule (only handle it once) for mail. For me, though, I prefer to deal with the last week’s incoming mail quickly and all at once on Mondays.

I made this butterfly organizer pocket to hold my mail for dealing with on Mondays.

I made this butterfly organizer pocket to hold my mail for dealing with on Mondays.

Management for me means I am paying bills, scheduling tasks, planning my next week and reviewing the previous week, following up on things, etc.

You could have Making on Mondays, and fit sewing and other projects in on this day every week.


I clean tubs, toilets, and tile on Tuesdays.

Or how about teaching on Tuesdays? You could teach yourself or someone else how to do something new.


For me, Wednesdays are devoted exclusively to writing, and I try to do not much else, because I am currently writing more than one book.

If you don’t have much writing to do, you might like to have whatever Wednesdays instead, for maximum scheduling freedom on hump days.

Sewing could definitely fit into Whatever Wednesday!

If you are in the once a week laundry camp, you could do your washing on Wednesdays.


Thrifty Thursdays. I used to choose to do my shopping on this day, since following the thrifty theme helped me not to make impulse purchases or otherwise spend unwisely.

Now that shopping is on my don’t do list, I am helping to free time from excess management on Mondays by theming Thursdays for thinking, too. I allow myself to invest a larger percentage of this day for reading and learning new things.


Floors, FUN, fitness, and friends on Fridays- I use Fridays for fitting in all these things.

I try to schedule most of our outings, field trips, hikes and other outdoor activities, and also playdates or informal dinner parties with friends, on Fridays.

I also do a good bit of sewing under the umbrella of fun on Fridays. This would be for fun new project ideas, just playing with patchwork or starting a new quilt, stuff that is fun. I wouldn’t do mending on a Friday, since that isn’t as much fun.

We have family time every day here, but if yours doesn’t live with you, maybe you could use Fridays for family time, if this will help you.

I’ll also tell you about a tool that can save a ton of time from Friday’s floor cleaning task. I have a lot of hardwood and other hard floors, and also a pack of boys and a dog. So cleaning floors used to take up what felt like half my day on Fridays.

Luckily, a steam mop is a huge helper that cuts this task from tedious chore to so fast and effective it is almost fun to clean floors.

These are not all made equal, however. I love the well-designed Luna Plus steam mop system, especially because of its handy extra uses in the bathroom. This baby can save time on the floors on Fridays, and the tub and tile on Tuesdays, too.

It cleans twice as well as you can, and in half the time!


Sew on Saturdays.

Here are some ideas to get you started thinking about your own themes for every day of the week.

Here are some ideas to get you started thinking about your own themes for every day of the week.

I would advise against any temptation to have Saturday shopping as a theme! That is based on my own opinions, however; you should do what makes you happy.

If you normally shop on Saturdays, could you move to using thrifty Thursdays for this? Then you could save money for more sewing equipment and supplies and a whole day of the week for sewing. I’d love to help you save time AND money, so do consider this option.

Some folks might like to theme their Saturdays for socializing. I do this some weeks myself.


Sew on Sundays, too!

It is fortunate that there are two days of the week beginning with S! And it makes perfect sense when theming your days to plan two days of sewing, if you want to make more time to sew.

Of course you could also devote all or part of either Saturday or Sunday to Service or as your Sabbath day of rest and reflection.

And wait, there’s more!

This series will be continued to part three, next week, because I’ll like to show you a few more ways to make more time. And I’ll share a video I am working on for you, where I’ll give you more details and inspiration about all the ideas from this series.

Until then, happy sewing. I hope these tricks can help you to make more time for sewing this week, and I hope you get to enjoy making something you’ll love.

How to Make More Time to Sew

How to Make More Time to Sew

You can make more time to sew

Do you have more ideas and things you’d like to make than time to do them?

No matter how many ideas that is, the right answer is no.

You can make more time to do anything you want, including sewing.

Here are my tips & tricks for finding more time.

Here are my tips & tricks for finding more time.

Productivity has become one of my passions. In fact, I am outlining a book I’ll write about many productivity hacks I have learned. I’ll share a few of these with you.

Make More Time to Sew

Set up for success

You need an efficient, working sewing system, including machines and workspace. That’s not to say that you can’t use a kitchen table if you don’t have dedicated space. In that case, a big part of your system would be keeping that kitchen table clean and never allowing piles of things to accumulate there. That way, you can whip out your sewing machine and get to work whenever you find a chunk of time to sew.

Keep work spaces clear & ready for working whenever you find time to sew.

Keep work spaces clear & ready for working whenever you find time to sew.

You do not want to waste time having to clear a space to sew. Keep your spaces clean and clear. Have backups of all machines, if you can. And keep them clean and in good working order. I gave tips about this when I laid out rules for keeping your sewing room in order.

The don’t-do list

Use the Eisenhower Matrix for prioritizing tasks. Start your don’t do list by dumping all the tasks in the not important, not urgent quadrant.

Use the Eisenhower Matrix for prioritizing tasks. Start your don’t do list by dumping all the tasks in the not important, not urgent quadrant.

Here is a great way to grab all kinds of time.

What are you currently doing that someone else could do?

If you are a parent, for example, that job is about raising competent people. And doing things for kids is often a disservice to both of you. It was awfully helpful for me and my kids when I realized this.

My own don’t do list started with only one item I could think to move there—washing dishes. It stayed like that for a long time. Gradually, I started finding things to add and helpers to give tasks to. My don’t do list is quite long by now.

My don’t do list now includes going shopping for groceries, for example. I order groceries online, and my husband is willing to go to the grocery store and pick them up. So I never go out for groceries at all anymore!

This is liberating and frees up all kinds of time to sew.

You can say no!

Do not feel obliged to accept all invitations or requests for your help. Be helpful and social, but remember the rule: don’t do for others what they can do for themselves.

Here is another helpful rule to keep in mind when thinking about your don’t do list: Only do what only you can do.

Right now, I’m busy doing so much that only I can do that I have delegated a lot of tasks to others & gained time by having a long don’t do list.

Right now, I’m busy doing so much that only I can do that I have delegated a lot of tasks to others & gained time by having a long don’t do list.

When you are looking at items on your plate and deciding which things to dump, it might be helpful to think of the 10-10-10 question. Just ask what difference a particular task will make in ten minutes, in ten months, and ten years. If it doesn’t matter much in any of these timelines, then perhaps that is a task you can let go and include on your don’t do list.

You can use this question to clearly see and reorder your priorities if necessary, so it is a helpful tool in other ways, too

Capture all your ideas

Achieve a mind like water that is free to flow in whatever container it finds itself by emptying it of all those things you do want to do.

Don’t use your brain power for keeping track of ideas and plans. Write these down. You need to regularly drain your brain, or download data to paper or digital file.

Use a notebook, card file, or organize lists on an app. The important thing is to have a system for tracking all your ideas, projects, and tasks. And use it!

How to Make More Time to Sew

I’ll recommend my two favorite ideas for this: a bullet journal or bujo, as these are affectionately known online, and a kanban, which comes from the system known as kaizen.

Bullet Journal

A bullet journal is a notebook with numbered pages and an index in the front. This helps to organize your lists and information so you can find it. You can have project lists, lists of next actions and Most Important Tasks, books you’d like to read, garments or quilts you want to sew, ideas, sketches. The point is to use it to capture everything you want to keep track of, rather than using your headspace for this.

Use an index in the front & number bullet journal pages to easily find all your lists.

Use an index in the front & number bullet journal pages to easily find all your lists.


A kanban board is a central tool in the system known as kaizen (“change for better” or “continuous improvement). I find it to be incredibly helpful.

A kanban board is simply three columns: to-do, doing, and done. I have used a white board and also a tri fold board and post-it notes to organize a kanban for some big projects before. Now I use free Trello boards to do this digitally.

My kanban board for today.

My kanban board for today.

The trick to making kanban work for you is to limit the Doing column, and keep it moving. My advice would be to use no more than three doing cards at a time. I allow an absolute maximum of five on mine, but try to keep it to three or just two.

Move these doing cards quickly to done, in a continual stream. The way to successfully do this is to make highly actionable tasks. “Make a quilt,” for example is a PROJECT, not a task or next action. Break projects into next actions. So the first task for “make a quilt,” might be to settle on a design, or if you’ve done that, plan and buy all the fabrics. Next actions in order would then be, prewash fabrics, iron fabrics, cut patchwork pieces, assemble patchwork, finish quilt top, make a quilt sandwich and pin, quilt, bind.

I hope these time saving tips help you. There’s more; I saved my favorite productivity hacks for finding more time to sew for part two of this series, next week.