How To Find Time For Projects

12:35 AM

People have asked in comments how I get so many projects accomplished having a little kid. 
So this post is dedicated to tips on finding time for projects, since everyone is busy.

I have to admit I get way more projects done since I've been a stay at home mom.  Keep in mind, I also only have 1 kid and he's two, so more hands free than having infants.
Actually, working full time was really hard for me to balance everything and have time for anything creative.  I painted signs as a little side business and when I got busy painting, my house became an absolute wreck until all the orders were finished.
So if you're a mom and work, you are busy!

DISCLAIMER BEFORE YOU READ MY TIPS:
I'm not a perfect mom, my house isn't always spotless.  I've had days where I've been sewing or something and look down and my kid has been in a poopy diaper and I'm not sure exactly how long.  These are the days when I realize I need to re-prioritize and put the important things first, and make sure creative outlets are in the "hobby" category because I get really excited and crafts and projects could easily take over.  So I feel like I'm starting to find balance, and here's some things that have helped me.  But I'm also still looking for any tips you may have also!

Hopefully my tips could help anyone a little...or maybe you'll just conclude I'm crazy.

TIP 1: SET LIMITS
I really have to treat myself like a 2 year old when it comes to projects.  If I don't make myself "earn" project time, it can consume my life and while I love creating, it can cause neglect to my family and my house.
Some things during the day I try to not let my project addiction interfere with:
-making dinner
-keep a clean (or at least tidy) house
-trying to be an involved, fun, mom and wife
So to balance this, I make myself fulfill the more important tasks before the fun creative project.
For example, my biggest work times are nap and after my son goes to sleep.
So at night, I force myself to get the kitchen totally clean before I begin working.
Also with nap time, I make sure I first read a while before I craft.  I'm religious so it's usually when I study that.

TIP 2: ALLOW INTERRUPTIONS
**Probably will explain why my blog is titled: Running With Scissors**

Some projects require you to be isolated and just work.  A lot of times sewing is this way for me, thus much of my sewing is done late into the night so I can just sit and focus.
But so many projects can be done in stages, 2 min. here, another 5 minutes there. 

If you're the kind of person that has to start and finish a project in one sitting, this may be uncomfortable to just leave projects hanging, but you can get a lot done this way I've found.  It is hard to ever get hours of free time, but you'll have 5 minutes here, 20 minutes there.
For example, while working on these lamps, they were sitting in my garage.  It took over a week to get them done.  I'd take out the trash, and stay an extra 2-3 min and spray paint the primer.
The next day when I'd run out there, I'd spray the next coat.
So they'd just sit and get worked on here and there, according to the rate we accumulated trash until they were finished.
Recovering the shades had to wait until I had a night after bed time to dedicate to that.

So lately I have about 10 little projects in different stages, and I work on them a few minutes here, a few minutes there. 
Tonight: I have my drapes in the wash before I finish sewing them, a bulletin board drying in the garage, freezer paper shirts waiting to be ironed and sealed, oil cloth folded on a shelf in my dining room to be cut to sew a table cloth, and VHS/ DVD drawers primed in the garage waiting for paint, and a covered storage box drying but finished.

I quite literally run around sneaking in a coat of paint here, a measure and cut there, all the time.  I always have a few projects going because different projects allow you to work on them at different times.
I also keep my cheap-o camera in my back pocket all day snapping photos so I can blog about it, which is why my photography lacks, it's jammed in between the blur of paint, glue and peanut butter and jelly.

With this also, I try to keep balance.  If my son is eating his lunch slowly and I know it will be a while before I can clean up his mess, I'll force myself to first unload the dishwasher, then measure and cut the cardboard for my bulletin board all the while standing at the counter talking to him.

TIP 3: INVOLVE YOUR FAMILY IN YOUR PROJECTS
KIDS
Depending on the project and the age of your kids, some projects just can't be done with kids around.  Like coating furniture with polyurethane.
But sanding a dresser outside while he rides his bike was fun and he liked helping put the hardware and screws in the trash for me.
Or when I painted these little signs, I got my son a paper paper plate of paint for him, and sat next to him with my paint.  So we paint together, and yes I have a huge mess on his side to clean up at the end, but I got a project done and he had a blast painting with mom.  I'd take breaks and help him paint specific shapes, etc.
It surprises me how much a 2 year old can actually help, so I imagine older kids if they're interested could do a lot. 

SPOUSE/ SIGNIFICANT OTHER
Some things I just need my husband's help to help me screw on doors, or screw frames on the walls, etc.  My husband doesn't mind helping me with those things, but not really fun for him.

But recently when we made the side table, coffee table, console table, and bench, we built them together.  It was at night after we'd put our son to bed, but they were our date nights.  Kind of lame date? Probably compared to some, but we actually had a lot of fun working and creating things together.
Rhett and I built furniture and ate ice cream late at night together for a few dates.

WARNING: There is a danger of involving your spouse, he'll get mad when you slop your way through the paint job on the furniture you built together, so you don't have complete control like your used to on being as sloppy as you need to.

Which brings me to probably my biggest tip:

TIP 4: DON'T WORRY ABOUT BEING PERFECT!
I think a lot of people are just worried to try things because they are worried it won't be perfect.
Well I don't think anything I've ever made is perfect, so if you can, plan on it having little ugly problems, and just jump in. 
Don't let fear of imperfection prevent you from trying at all.
I'm so flattered with comments that compliment me as being "talented".  I don't think anything I've ever made has taken talent--more a necessity to save money by making it myself and courage to try something new.  I got that from my mom.
I'm probably a lot sloppier than most people, or I'm satisfied with adequate.
So I'm not saying you should be sloppy, but I get a lot more done letting the little things go and moving on.  I think most of the time no one really notices.  Like with my paint job on the bench--my husband was asking if this is how I always work, knowing things could be better and just not caring.  Yes.  He's a perfectionist and I'm a slob that gets stuff done.
But I understand if you'll hate your project and only see the imperfections and need it to be perfect to enjoy it.  I'd say just plan on some things not being perfect, and focus on the great things you made/ changed/ improved rather than the small insignificant things that will go unnoticed.
Granted, sometimes you have a big flop and the only thing it's good for is the trash, or the dress-up box.

ANOTHER DISCLAIMER:
I've been able to post a boat load of projects recently because...

1. My husband has been between graduating school and just started his new job, and was home all day for 4 weeks, so lots of help and he'd take our son fishing a lot leaving me lots of project time.
He's back to work and you'll see a dramatic decrease in finished projects.

2. The huge projects like painting all the walls, doors, kitchen cabinets were done in a wild fury of 3 days while Grandma had our son.  We closed on the house Tues morning and went to Home Depot from the title company and bought paint.  We were taping/ painting over 12 hours a day until Friday afternoon to get all of that done before we moved in, which is why I look like bonch in the photo.  We worked hard.

3. Many of these house projects have been in the process of being worked on since April, so it took me 3 months in some cases to put all the 5 min. steps together to get it finished.

4. I'm  a total home body.  I'm annoyed when I have to leave my house, even to go buy groceries and run errands.  So I love to be home, and thus projects are always there to be done.
I also don't really watch TV unless I'm folding laundry or we're watching a movie as a family.  I guess I'm blogging instead in that area.

Hope this helps anyone trying to get a project done and add any more additional tips you have found help!

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3 comments

  1. Even though I don't have any children, I tend to let other things go if I am in a super crafty mood. And I never watch TV!! We don't even have cable or satellite!! But it's a great money saver! Thanks for sharing your tips!

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  2. love it that you offered up your tips! I can surely use them. And it's always nice to reaffirm that I'm not totally crazy - there are other people out there just like me. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Awesome advice. I don't watch TV ever, unless i am doing hand sewing in my lap. It's amazing what you can accomplish with the TV off. Now, if only I could turn off my computer....

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