Friday, May 4

Part 5 : The Organized Woman's Guide - Avoiding Distraction

Avoiding Distraction

This series is about discovering time you already have that maybe you just aren't using as wisely as you could.  I decided to do this series because I've learned some things that work for me, some things I'd like to improve upon, and some things I still need to learn!

Whether you want more knitting time, or time to spin, crochet, paint, or read.  There are sure to be some tips and techniques you can use for better time management.

"Consider what you give your attention to each day. It’s a precious resource, & determines the shape of your life." - Leo Babauta

I know too well what it's like.  You work all day (doing at least 80 things), then  you come home and fix dinner, throw a load of laundry in the wash, pick up the living room, check all the social media stuff, then make sure you aren't missing something really exciting that might be happening in the world (we don't want to be left out), and check out the 483 blogs you regularly read, etc., etc.  Then you check Ravelry to see what's new there (how do people get so many things knit so fast?  I can't even finish a hat!) 

Before you know it, you feel dejected (not to mention tired!) and figure 'what the heck,' I'll just chill and watch a movie.  And boom, another night with no knitting accomplished.  Sound familiar?  Yep, me too.

There is a fix.  Here's how to reclaim your ability to focus and GET THINGS DONE. 


  1. Start Small
The best way to succeed is to choose something that seems easy to you.  You should feel at least 90% sure that you can complete your chosen goal.  Success is a motivating force, propelling you on to the next goal.  Don't choose the hardest thing first.
  1. Stop Reading and Start "Doing"
I can easily spend hours and hours looking at knitting magazines and blogs, getting lots of inspiration and ideas.  But that doesn't get one stitch knit on my sweater.  Reading helps - it helps you understand and it can motivate.  But it's not a substitute for doing.
  1. Focus on Now
Knit for 5 minutes, 10 minutes.  Give your complete attention to your knitting.  These moments add up to a finished project.


  1. Pick one thing to focus on at a time
When you are knitting, turn off all other distractions.  Shut off your phone and your TV.  You enjoy knitting, so really enjoy it.  Savor the feel of the yarn, the way the pattern is emerging, the softness of the fabric and all the other wonderful tactile benefits of knitting.  If your focus is on something else, you miss this experience.  Don't!
  1. Stop Multitasking
Multitasking is less efficient, due to the need to switch gears back and forth.   Scientists are learning that we actually don't work on more than one thing at a time.  Our brain jumps back and forth between tasks, giving less than total attention to either one.  It's more complicated and leaves you prone to errors, and it can drive you crazy!  In this already chaotic world, we need to find a simpler, less stressful and more productive way.


  1. Limit Computer & Social Media Time
Checking your email?  Give yourself just 5 minutes to read, reply or delete, and then get out.  Twitter?  Check the top 20 tweets in your feed, then leave.  Seriously, don't let these things take up hours of your time.  
  1. Be Brief
Spend 5 minutes on email, 10 minutes reading blog feeds, 5 minutes on Twitter.  Limit the time you spend on less important things, so you have more time for important things.   Don't say "Yes" when you should say "No."
  1. Be Picky
Consciously consider that amount of attention that Facebook, Twitter, Email, Blogging, etc. receive each day.  While you're at it, look at how much time is devoted to television, celebrity watching, sports or news.  It can be a revelation to discover how much of our time is frittered away.


  1. Work On It Every Day
Every time you spend 5 or 10 minutes knitting on an heirloom shawl, you move it closer to completion.  Don't miss those small moments available everyday for a few rows.  
  1. Keep It Simple
Easier said than done, right?  Maybe not.  You don't need to accomplish everything with this project.  Don't redesign everything you knit.  Just knit the pattern.  Even if you are working on a complex pattern, break it down.  Tackle each step as a separate goal.
  1. Lose Perfectionism
It's one thing to frog a project that has visible, pattern-altering mistakes that you would notice every time you looked at it.  It's another thing to tink back 10 rows because you put an ssk in where a k2tog should have been.  Look at the big picture, and realize many beautiful handknits have small imperfections.   It doesn't diminish their beauty, and you don't lose your sanity.

Avoiding distraction in today's world takes some effort.  (After all, you're reading a blog right now...and thank you!)  But the rewards are well worth it.

Every time you complete a project successfully, you:
  • grow as a knitter
  • learn new techniques
  • learn about new yarns
  • become proficient in your skills

You find out:
  • the things you enjoy working on
  • the things at which you excel
  • the things you need to improve

Of course, these ideas can be used to focus on anything you choose, whether it be knitting, writing, fitness, education, bowling or whatever.  Choose your passion and FOCUS!

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