Try one (or both!) of these two time management strategies to carve out more knitting time in your day
One of the biggest issues I’ve had in finding time to knit has been with time management.
And after working hard this year to address my time management issues, I’ve recognized my two biggest obstacles to managing my time effectively. I’ll share one with you today, and in the next post I’ll share the second.
Later in this post, you’ll find two time management strategies to help deal with this issue — and, of course, make more time for knitting.
One Big Time Management Issue I’ve Faced: Multi-tasking
Maybe you have this problem, too, or at least a similar one…
I’ve come to realize that I’m one of the most impatient people on Earth. It’s embarrassing, really.
Here’s what I mean. I do nearly all my work on a laptop computer that is not exactly high-end. Because of this, it can be very slow. Software programs often seem like they take years to open and load. The wait for a web page to finish loading on my browser can feel like death by a hundred slow-motion cuts.
When I’m researching or writing, I get incredibly irritated by such waiting that I often make the mistake of picking up my phone and checking my e-mail or social media or some other time-wasting app/website.
By the time my software or web page has finished loading, I’m already distracted. And too often, rather than exiting from everything on my phone and getting to work, I bounce back and forth between phone and computer.
This does not help my productivity!
I’ve gotten much better since I decided that this year I would start tackling my time management issues. And I’ve found myself doing much more knitting now that I’m not wasting my time as much!
Two highly-regarded time management strategies follow. One of these is a simple process of ensuring that you take breaks while engaging in hard work. The other is a system to help you accomplish your most important tasks.
Ideas for Time Management – the Pomodoro Technique
Do you ever feel guilty about taking time to knit when you have so much else to do?
It’s completely understandable! But research has found that when we take the time to engage another part of our brains, especially in an inherently relaxing way, we perform nearly if not all our other tasks better.
I used to worry that if I took a knitting break, I’d become so involved in it that before I knew it, I’d spent an hour knitting when I meant to take only a few minutes. Do you ever have that fear?
If so, let me introduce you to a time management technique that productive people around the world swear by: the Pomodoro technique. This complex-sounding title describes a very simple process: You work for 25 minutes at a time, followed by 5-minute breaks. After 4 “Pomodoros” (work sessions), you’ll take a longer break, like 15 or even 30 minutes.
All you need to use the Pomodoro technique is a timer. If you have a phone or computer, you can use its timer. You can even use an egg timer!
I use an app on my computer called “Focus 10.” It’s free and perfect for Pomodoro working. In fact, I’m using it right now. And when my time is up I’ll knit for a few minutes before I start my work again.
Focus 10 is a Windows app, but many Pomodoro apps are available on iTunes as well.
For an in-depth primer on how to use the Pomodoro technique, check out this helpful article on Lifehacker.
Ideas for Time Management: Getting Things Done (GTD)
The Pomodoro technique is a process technique. That is, it’s a way to help you become more productive by ensuring that you take regular breaks — breaks that you can use for knitting!
But Pomodoro isn’t necessarily going to help you organize your time to make sure you have time to accomplish everything you need to do on a daily basis. This is where you might want to seek out other time management techniques.
“Getting Things Done,” or GTD, is a comprehensive time management system.
GTD will help you make your schedule and to-do lists manageable by getting them out of your head and into a notebook, either real or electronic. At its heart it’s an organizational system, and if you feel like you could use a bit more organization in your life, it could be a life-saver.
Three principles, or “pillars,” comprise GTD:
- Capturing everything — every idea, every task you need to complete, every project you want to finish. You need some place to put all of these that isn’t your head. GTD only works if you make sure that you write down (or “capture”) every thought related to something you need or want to do.
- Clarifying what you need to do. This involves breaking down every project or task into steps you can take to lead to completion.
- Organizing these steps into categories and priorities. You want to make sure you take the steps leading to your most important tasks or projects first.
- Reflecting on your to-do lists. This means that before you move on to the next item, you decide if that’s what you need to do next. Or, if you see something on your list that’s too vague that you’re not sure how to act upon it, break it down into further steps.
- Engaging and getting down to business. This is where you choose your next action and begin.
This is a very basic overview of GTD. For more information, I highly suggest reading this Lifehacker blog post that offers a primer on GTD. This will help you decide if GTD might be a good idea for you to try.
I personally think GTD looks like a terrific system, and I think I may well try it soon. One nice quality about GTD is that it works really well with Pomodoro, so you can work those little breaks (that is, knitting breaks!) into your system.
You can also, of course, use the to-do lists of GTD to plan knitting projects!
In the final post of this “finding time to knit” series, I’ll show you two more time management strategies. Both are powerful tools for corralling your daily to-do lists and making them more manageable.
Making daily to-do lists has been a game-changer for me. They’ve helped me abolish both my multi-tasking ways and my attempts to hold tasks inside my leaky brain.
See you next time!
Have you tried either of these time management strategies? Do you have a special time management strategy that works for you? Please share below!