Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Time management

It’s no secret in today’s world that time is a lot like money, you never have enough anymore. At this stage in my life the time factor is even more true. Between my personal life and family, the studio and classes, the video project, and the book manuscripts… it’s a wonder I feel like I am accomplishing anything anymore.

This recently came up when talking to a friend, too. Usually the topic brings up priorities, values, responsibility, and strategies. The first thing I thought of was managing technology. Everyone has their head in a smart phone or tablet now. And seriously, we used to function just fine without them. How much more efficiently could you manage your time if you weren’t constantly responding to social media or staying caught up on your news feeds?For example, another friend of mine went on a three day trip. After returning home, she had an inbox full of messages. I asked her if they were notification emails or actual messages that needed responding to. In her case the majority of the emails were the notification kind for likes, comments, etc. on social media. She had no idea there was a way to manage her settings to stop this from wasting her time on a regular basis.

I have certain email addresses tagged as important so messages come up first on my phone. Those get answered. Everything else gets prioritized until I can deal with it. I do the same with texts and phone calls by assigning certain ring tones. When my ears hear these tones, I know I can ignore or listen. It’s been very freeing and helped to manage technology and distractions that cause me to lose lots of my previous time.

I’ve put a boundary on my time when it comes to managing the outside distractions that prevent me from being productive. This is how I’m able to successfully manage my time and have technology working FOR me rather than against me!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Mastery of Mindset for Successful Quilting

Remember the last time you went on vacation? Those few days before you left when you anticipated the trip and everything was exciting and made everything you were doing to prepare fun and enjoyable, right? Life seemed brighter, funnier, easier, and probably more interesting. You weren’t even on vacation yet, but the mindset of being at the beach, on the cruise, or wherever you were going coloured all the experiences with the wonderful time you knew you were going to have.

That is the very idea we need to focus on before we begin working on a project. Any frame of mind we have at the beginning will affect the work we create. The experience of working will mirror that throughout the completion of the piece. If we are tense, the work will be stilted and difficult to execute. Fearful? It will take longer and reflect the tentative nature that comes with fear and not wanting to screw up. Even too much excitement can cause a lack of attention, and have you wanting to jump to the next thing instead of focusing on the step you are on.

Preparing to quilt I create a calm, focused, and at ease mindset. I look for music that keeps me calm yet suits the movement I will be making; feathers = flowing or classical music, angles = a prominent and steady beat, or pebbles = audio book. I spend about fifteen minutes with my Zentangle® practice where I use a marker and create patterns on a 3.5 inch square of paper. I focus on just the mark I am making at the time and push all other thoughts and distractions out of my mind.

When I’m done, I can begin quilting with a clear mindset because I’ve left behind all the other things that are going on around me causing distractions. As I work I focus on the mark I am currently making. If I finish a movement and am not happy with it, I take a moment and either choose to accept it and move on, or to stop and remove it. Once I have chosen, I again focus on the movement I am making. If I get caught up on the next movement ahead, I take a deep breath and focus again on the movement I am making.

Remember! You can stop the machine at any time! If you’re distracted by — whatever, then stop your machine for a minute and deal with that distraction. The result will be more controlled, intentional quilting and a better frame of mind. The finished piece will be a testament to discipline, skill, focus, and follow through of your vision-a whole work of art.

Until next time… Get tangled!