Thursday, November 7, 2013

Fitting It All In - A Do's and Don'ts Detour

Hello there and happy Friday! Welcome back to the Fitting It All In series here at PurpleMailbox. If you missed the previous posts, you can check them out here:

Alrighty! Now that we have taken a very close look at how we are spending our time and where our individual priorities lie, let's take a little detour...

  • A detour to some tips...
  • A detour to some practical suggestions...
  • A detour into some of my do's and don'ts...

You see, I have found that in order to "find time" and then actually make good use of it, it requires having some things set in place, knowing what I need to do and when I will do it, and also what I don't need to do.

So... here is a run down of some of my do's and don'ts!
(Let me say first, that the following list is all very personal and I am merely sharing what works for me. Just because it works for me, doesn't mean it will work for you... so have a peek and ponder what do's and don'ts you may be able to implement for yourself :)

What DON'T I Do?

I Don't Do All of the Chores:
That's right! At a young age, my children are taught that it takes a family effort to live as a family. I really could write a whole separate series on this topic alone and some of our philosophies. But, for now, I will leave it simple. 

Use your time together as a family wisely. 
Work together.
Run errands together.
Cook Together.
Learn Together.

This way, when all of the work is done, free time means free time for EVERYONE! YAY!

We Watch Very Little TV:
See that lovely little black box hanging on my wall? It doesn't get turned on all that often. Sure, we have our favorite shows. But, we don't have cable or satellite. With our channel options limited, we often turn to the internet to watch shows we enjoy, or we simply just don't watch them. It really is amazing what you can accomplish when the glowing box isn't glowing :)

I Don't Do Facebook:
GASP! WHAT? How do you stay connected? Oh my! 
LOL. Trust me, it's ok. I still have friends, and yes... they still bother to email or text me. Sure, I probably don't know what they had for breakfast, but I am ok with that :)

In all seriousness, we made a decision as a family a long time ago, that we would not join Facebook, and we have just stayed with that. We are not against Facebook or social media in general (in fact I am on Instagram and Twitter), we just want to avoid the distraction and the many rabbit trails that a platform like Facebook can invite.

I Don't Go Out Very Much:
You might have noticed from my last post in this series that socializing was at the bottom of my priority list. HA! This is certainly not the case for everyone, but it is amazing how much more you can get done when you just stay home.

I Try to Avoid the Magazine/Pinterest Trap:
I stopped subscribing and/or buying home decor magazines years ago. 

Is there anything wrong with them? Well... not at face value. 

But, I have found that the more I am bombarded with images of the ideal home, the perfectly organized space, the trendy new colors, the best way to arrange your small space, etc... etc.... Well, it makes my brain busy...

Busy with ideas...
Busy with new-found to do lists...
Busy thinking that everything I have needs to be improved upon...

When my brain is busy, I become busy. Running around to find the perfect new organizing bin, picking up paint chips to repaint the dresser, etc... etc...

Sure, I like to decorate, I like to redo a room from time to time and I enjoy finding new things for my home. The key is to not make it a constant in my life. I don't want home decor to become part of my daily order of events.

And, of course... Pinterest is the modern equivalent of this. Yes, I am on Pinterest. But, I don't have a decor board. No, there is nothing wrong with that. 

Like I said, I have just found that for me... constantly seeking something new or better in the items that surround me is just needless self-induced busyness.

You get the idea.

Being content with what I have and not constantly looking to acquire new things or to improve upon what is already just fine, helps me "find time" because I am not spending it elsewhere.

I Don't Go Shopping:
First and foremost, I don't like to shop (unless I am shopping for craft supplies). The idea of combing through racks and racks to find the perfect shirt is dreadful to me. So, I simply don't do it. I buy most things, other than groceries, online. HUGE timesaver when I am not running all over town looking for something.

I Don't Talk On the Phone:
Another thing I have never really liked to do. I don't have the best hearing, so half the time I can't hear what the other person is saying. Also, I would really just prefer to get together with you if there is a lot to say. Luckily, most of my close friends live in the same town :) For those long distance people, texting and messaging has been lovely... not to mention Skype and Facetime.


What On Earth DO I DO?

I Do Have a Chore List:
I have specific days each week that I tackle certain chores. For example, I clean the bathrooms on Mondays. So, if the bathroom looks a little disheveled on Saturday and I really want to go get scrappy, I am not worried about it because I know that I will clean it on Monday. See? Permission to leave the bathroom alone and head to the studio! Having this schedule in place and sticking to it, takes the guilt out of those lovely tasks.

I Do Get Plenty Of Sleep:
This is huge for me! If I don't have at least 7 or 8 hours, I can't think straight. And, if I can't think straight, I can't make the best use of my time.

I Do Keep All of My Supplies Out:
Seriously, If I did not have all of my goodies out and easy to grab at a moment's notice, I would not get nearly as much crafting squeezed in. 
I do know that I am VERY fortunate to have a space that I can do this in. I know this is not reality for a lot of you. If that is the case, think outside the box!

  • Maybe you are working on a page and can't decide what embellies to put on it? Set it on top of your dresser with several choices and noodle it each time you walk by.
  • Have a partially finished page but have to put it up and walk away from it? Take a picture of it on your phone and pull it up when you have a free moment to reflect on what else you would like to do with it.
  • Don't have time to make a whole page? Grab a stencil, some mist, and some cardstock. Spritz away and leave those background pages on a free surface in your house. Hang them on the fridge if you have to. Just seeing and pondering work in progress can keep your creative brain going.

I Do Keep a Very Small Stash:
What you see above is the entirety of my washi, my stamps, my flair, and my mists. Not only is this easy on your wallet, but it keeps the decision process to a minimum when working on a page and thus cuts down on your time.
I also try to limit myself. The drawer above is full of alphas and sticker sheets. If I have more than I can flip through while creating one page, I have too many. I don't allow myself to buy more. This can be REALLY hard with all of the new goodies that are constantly coming out, but, once again... it speeds up my creative process tremendously!
That photo above? All the paper I own. With the acrylic dividers removed I am pretty sure the stack wouldn't exceed 2-3 inches in depth. Once again, limited choices make for faster scrapping!

I Do Limit My Computer Time:
Oh yes, this is one I struggle with for sure. But, I try to be good and not get sucked into the many rabbit trails that are out there on the world wide web. I only open my computer in the early morning and late evening. It does help to keep me from getting distracted!

I Do Meal Plan and Use My Crock Pot:
Yes, indeed! When dinner is started at breakfast and cooking all day, I have that much more time to do other fun things! Plus, it means I am not slaving away over a stove for an hour before supper time. Huzzah!

So, there you have it... a detour into some of my personal Do's and Don'ts.

Will all of this work for everyone? Of course not! But, hopefully this will encourage you to think about some things that you can implement in your life to help you find some of that precious time and to make room for crafting!

I know I only lightly touched on each on of these Do's and Don'ts... so, feel free to ask specific questions if you have any :)

See you next time as we look at a real-time start to finish and see how exactly I create. 

I will give you a hint... I hardly ever get to sit down and do a page from start to finish. It is usually done in about 10 different increments of 5 minutes at a time. Join me as we take a look at how that works.

See you soon!


  1. Great post. Glad to hear I'm not the only one who doesn't do Facebook. Can't wait for the next installment.

  2. Thank you for this peek into how you make crafting fit into your lifestyle, Ashli!

  3. This is a wonderful post!!! We do a lot of these things though I really need to try the chore assigned to a particular day. I've tried this before but didn't stick to my schedule. I'm glad to see that we aren't the only household that doesn't use Facebook. I tried it for a few months about 3 months ago and got nothing useful out of it. I try to keep my social media to craft related sites and topics.

  4. Loving this series (even if I haven't commented much lately). Seriously, I think about it in the shower and other random times. My kids are still too little for major chores, but I almost always make them clean with me and man the dustbuster or put dirty clothes in the machine...limiting my computer time is something I really need to start doing more! I have some ideas about fitting in photos if you want to collaborate on something!

  5. Love you sharing this peek into your lives.


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