Sunday, March 23, 2014

Putting Aside Procrastination

Whenever I feel overwhelmed or swamped by endless 'to-dos', unable to fathom how I will ever catch up or get on top of things again, I reach for my trusty notebook, filled with jottings and ideas. It is here that I make a huge list of all the things currently bothering me and all the things I feel I need to do. Just writing them down and visually venting seems to clear some head space in a way and allows me to step back and look realistically at all that has been on my mind, items which seem more achievable somehow when they are put onto paper.

Over the past few weeks, I've looked over that list, prioritized and re-assessed and done my best to stop procrastinating and actually make things happen.  One by one, I've been tackling areas of our home life that have been bugging me. I've done my best to fight the 'can't be bothereds', to muster up some energy and have been reminding myself over and over that things won't get done by themselves. Our linen cupboard has finally been restored to an acceptable state, the boxes and boxes of unwanted household items I've been holding onto (as well as some pieces of my Dad's I had yet to 'deal with') have been sorted through and moved on. The formal dining table which had become a 'craft area' has been cleared and restored to its former neat and tidy (albeit unused) state, (that was after I had removed the glitter-glue off the umpteen surfaces Sophie had decided to decorate) and our pantry has been organised and re-stocked.

And while my long term list still has oodles on it, my washing basket is overflowing and keeping our house clean is still a constant battle, seeing items slowly being crossed off has been very satisfying indeed. Just a fifteen minute block of time here and there each day has made a huge difference to getting things done.

In prioritizing what I've needed to do, I've also placed importance on carving out small blocks of time for creative projects. I've always fallen into the trap of thinking I had too much to-do to 'allow' myself the pleasure of some time for crafting, telling myself such luxuries could wait until the house was in order. However, the order I strive for is something I will probably never fully achieve, there will always be something else I 'should be doing' and consciously making time for creativity is in fact something that deserves to be part of my days and weeks.

A line I came across as I was recently re-reading Amanda Soule Blake's "The Creative Family" summed up my thoughts...

'Don't slip into the habit of relegating your creative projects for "after everything else is done" ... "Everything else" is never done.  Crafting needs to be as important a part of your life as anything else you consider a necessity.  There is time for creating; you just need to make it a priority for you.'

And so, as well as slowly working on long-term spring-cleaning-type household projects, I've also been spending time at my sewing machine and delving into my box of craft supplies. Sophie's patchwork quilt is beginning to take shape, the gallery wall of family snapshots I've been planning for months is almost ready to be displayed and I am finally putting together some photo albums (something for a whole other post in itself).

Productivity for me comes in waves.  There are some seasons where simply getting through the day to day essentials requires all my time, weeks where I lack energy and motivation.  At other times, I feel a sense of urgency and a strong desire to 'deal with things'... a non-pregnancy nesting of sorts... For now, I'm going to continue to plug away at my list of projects... the key for me being to do so bit by bit and to tick things off one by one...


  1. Amanda, Im with you on the lists I have so many lists of things I want to do and the house list of endless renovations and projects I try to make my poor partner do on his 1 day off a week! It has been a really slow lazy start to the year, I blame it on the hot sticky summer we've had. But its so nice to spend a day on the couch relaxing, reading, tv watching, making bunting and creating cards, so thats what Iv been doing all while the washing basket is overflowing and the shower needs a scrub. And I dont even have kids to look after (well besides a furbaby!). As you say the work will always be there, so why not do the fun stuff now and bring on the creativity :)

  2. I struggle to get motivated too but I love the feeling you get when you see what you have achieved, I wished it happened a little more often though:) Like you I have my lists I slowly plug along at sometimes ticking things off. I must though place time aside each day for creating, there will always be things that need to be done like the washing...Have a wonderful Tuesday. xxx

  3. I love this post, and that quote from Amanda Soule Blake's book. I have 'The Rhythm of Family' written by her and it's just delightful.
    Your blog always makes me feel so calm and at ease....coz we both know that my brain is anything but :)))
    Sophie's quilt is looking gorgeous! Well done Mumma xx

  4. I am starting to realise that the more structure I have in my life, the more freedom it gives me for unstructured time!!! x

  5. Great Post Amanda. I agree, the proverbial 'inbox' in never empty is it so I always make time for doing things I enjoy even when there are so many other household things to do - sometimes I spend a bit too much time ignoring things around the house though :-). My motivation comes in waves too (and as you know I've just been through a period of "unmotivation" and therefore chaos on the home front) but I, too, am slowly tackling one area at a time and it does feel good. Your home looks beautiful and Sophies quilt is looking gorgeous. Mel xxx

  6. "Don't slip into the habit of relegating your creative projects for "after everything else is done" ... "Everything else" is never done. Yes just YES!!!! xx

  7. Hi Amanda, I can completely relate you you here, what a great post! I can't remember the exact quote or where I read it so I can't credit but I once read how in years to come the children wont remember the unfolded laundry and dusty floors, but they will remember the treasured things you made for them and your family home. I try and remind myself of this regularly when I chose to do something that feeds my creative soul over the mundane daily tasks of Mount laundry and the neverending job of cleaning and sorting that needs doing.

  8. the idea of prioritising craft time (or any personal wellness time) resonates with me. It is amazing as a mum how often we push our needs and hobbies to the back and focus on all the other things that, like you said, will never be finished. well done mama, x ashley

  9. I agree totally with your post, thankyou. I also agree with Ashley. As i have gotten older and my kids are older, hubby and i are beginning to reconnect with each other. We go to the gym 3 times a week together and while we are both quite busy (we both work as well as run a 17 acre fruit property and as a sideline to that we sell our dried fruit at farmers markets and through our FB page)
    Im tending to let the *groundhog day stuff* washing, dishes (go into dishwasher) are not as such a high priority as say going for a run or to the gym, or even taking time to go for a coffee together, either with the kids one on one or each other.
    As for the crafting side of it, im trying to wean myself off internet and do more hands on, something to show for my time stuff. Eg quilting, sewing, scrapbooking, reading, baking and the like.Sorry its so long winded xx

  10. oh i lost my whole comment :(
    In a long winded way i wanted to say thank you and that i agree wholeheartedly about the lists enabling your head to be clear, I have LOTS of lists but love the little prompts they give mexx

  11. Ahhh I needed to read this. You are such a brilliant writer my friend... I think this is now one of my all-time favourite posts of yours. You made me smile... and breathe! I feel exactly like this at the moment, a bit spent, and anxious that I am not working hard enough to 'get everything done'. You've made me feel inspired to spend some time getting those energy-sapping things just 'done'. Yesterday I decluttered and re-organised my wardrobe - and felt so good afterward! P.S. Sophie's patchwork quilt is looking beautiful. xx


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