“How do you get so much done?”

One of the biggest questions I ever get is “How do you get so much done?”

I’ve answered this question several times. Typically they include topics like
1- Time management. I squeeze little bits and pieces of time and eventually, they all add up.

I’ve explained that I will sew a whole bunch and not iron anything only to later take the ironing downstairs and iron over nap time when I’m watching my grandkids.

2-Saving jobs for the right time.

I’ve explained that I put my phone on speaker and trim blocks while I talk to my kids on the phone. I can totally talk to my kids, be engaged in the conversation, and trim blocks to 2 1/2″.

3-Having several projects going.

If I have two or three projects going at once, I can often find something to do for the amount of time I have. If I have a big chunk of time I can longarm a quilt. If I have a small amount of time, I can piece two blocks. If I only had a quilt that I had to longarm and never got a bigger chunk of time, I’d have wasted all of the time I used when I pieced the two blocks.

4-I don’t sit down. After talking to my adult kids they are sure I likely have adult ADHD. I don’t know if I do or don’t. I likely do but I’m okay as I am. I’ve mentioned that I don’t sit down…but not the ADHD thing before. I’m rare even not doing something.

5-I don’t commute to work. I never have. That frees up a lot of time.

6-I don’t shop…don’t vacation…I don’t do much at all that takes me away from home.

There is one thing that I haven’t talked about before though…Blog read Pat left a comment on the blog that said, “I love your Come to the Garden! I especially love how you changed the verse (and how you shared it with us!!!!). It is just beautiful! As busy as you are, you still get a lot of stitching done…I think busy people make better use of their time. Thanks for sharing!

Pat is really onto something. Busy people do make better use of their time. It’s true for me.

The other day my grandson Anders was here. I was taking care of him all day.

I got so much done…SO MUCH! It was the best day ever. I got to love on Anders, care for him, AND get some of my stuff done.

I got much more done than on a day he isn’t here…why? I was trying to accomplish some things AND I had to work around his schedule.

I wanted to get my laundry done so I had the two baskets downstairs and by the machine before he even came. I could easily change that and fold laundry with him here.

I wanted to get my indoor plants watered. Again, something I could do while he was tooling around in his walker. He would chase me in his walker and I would talk to him while I watered plants.

While he was eating crackers in his high chair, I was at the table and doing some mailing.

When he took his morning nap, I filled the bird feeders and took out my garbage, and started a batch of cookies. I read through blog comments, Youtube comments, and email.

We ate lunch together.

Every time I sat in the rocking chair and played with him or read him books, I planned the next couple of things I could do when I got a chance.

I made my supper.
I unloaded and loaded the dishwasher.
I tidied the kitchen.
I wrote a card to a friend.
I texted a friend.
I trimmed up a few quilting blocks.

Later when he took his afternoon nap, I wrote two blog posts and started another.

By the time everyone left for the day I went to the sewing room and sewed for 90 minutes and then came down and cross-stitched the rest of the night.


The next day…I got about 1/3 of that done and Anders wasn’t here. I had time to lollygag…and I did. All of the projects I picked had options and I didn’t make decisions very well. I couldn’t get much done at all. It was so disappointing because I thought I was going to get so much done because Anders wasn’t there that day. WRONG.

So I think Pat is really onto something…Busy people do seem to get more done.

I think it’s because busy people have to purposely plan and make goals. They have to think, “I can quickly get the bird feeders filled because I have this 10-minute slot of time”..and then they go and fill them. Someone with lots of time might put it off or say they are going to “do it later”…and then later gets later and later because they get sidetracked with something else.

Thanks so much for the comment, Pat. It has gotten me thinking that I need to make some to-do lists and set goals for days that I don’t have kids here to care for…maybe I can make those more productive days.

I’d love for you all to chime in and share your experience…do you agree that busy people do seem to get more done?

28 thoughts on ““How do you get so much done?””

  1. I can’t match you, Jo, but I’m more productive working from a list & crossing it off. If I don’t get around to everything on the list, no authorities have ever come & taken me away. It’s just my way of getting tasks done. I knew a guy with 5 kids on the farm and he wrote jobs for them on a blackboard in the porch. I like that idea.

  2. I know when I had kids at home, I got a lot more done than I do now. Of course, I’ve gotten older and don’t move as fast. But, I also realize that I just don’t care if I don’t get something done that happens to be on my list for the day. I do necessary things, but if it isn’t sustaining life, it’s not a big deal if I miss it..

  3. I agree with Tammy. I got a lot done when I had kids at home and even when it was just my husband and myself. I always lived by “the list.” I got really tired of lists and gave it up but added it back a few months ago in order to get things done. The other problem is my husband was a huge procrastinator (widowed 10 years) and I learned to be one too or I was doing absolutely EVERYTHING! I’ve had to retrain myself to not put things off. I tell myself I think of doing something longer than it takes to just do it. I’m a work in progress but it’s slow. Also, I LOVE to read books, my mind wanders when listening, so I spend a fair amount of time sitting and reading. And the worse is no incentive as i live alone so no one is going to see the messes and half finished projects so they sit to be done another day.

  4. A couple of recent past blog posts were not readable. They had black background with white letters and looked like Beta with all the symbols. I’m not sure if anyone else is seeing this but I thought I’d let you know. Otherwise I love the new blog format.

    1. The first post about community quilts was bad again. The other two fine. This is the ones emailed to me today. I had also read the other two on FB and they were ok there also.

  5. Just to let you know, I haven’t been able to read your previous two posts as they appear to be code.
    It’s fab that you get some much done but don’t forget we all need time to “stand and stare”.
    Regards from a sunny England

    1. I was the only girl in my family so I was given a great deal of responsibility from an early age for indoor work. I was a good student too and learned to sew my own clothes. I learned how to get things done and in an efficient way. ( My husband makes ten trips when I make two.) I learned to clean up after I baked, to straighten a room quickly and to use the wastebasket and not pile stuff up. I do think busy people get a great deal done, but I’ve seen some just walk around and not get anything done, their head isn’t in the right place. I’m older now and my family is gone or busy so things I used to do are not needed. I’m enjoying the twilight years by resting more. But I still keep my house clean, I have quilt projects in my sewing and longarm room. Some things don’t change completely.

    2. I have had several in code also. In fact the first one was in code but then here it is fine. Crazy. I try to read them on Facebook

  6. You do get lots done, Jo! You are so organized. I think it is true that busy people get lots more done. I heard that a teacher said if she/he wanted something done it would be asked of a working parent because in his or her busyness, more likely to get it done. You do inspire me!

  7. I really think your results match your interest. You have goals and you work towards those goals consistently. You make the steps match the bits and pieces of your day such as the trimming during kiddo naps, quilting when you know you’ll have a bigger chunk of time, piecing when you have 20 minutes. I don’t see it as ‘busy’, it’s your way of life. I do the same. And on occasion I can sit for hours and thoroughly enjoy nothingness. I can walk for hours as well.

    I don’t think you have any signs of ADHD.

    ENJOY this fabulous Thursday we’ve been gifted :-)

  8. Cynthia from Nebraska

    Hi Jo! Love your productivity! I’ve noticed lately that your posts are coming at different times…the second post doesn’t show up until sometime after I’ve gone to bed.

  9. I think you’re on to something there Jo. When you’ve got a grandbaby or kids there you are more mindful of your time and plan accordingly, fitting in little tasks where you can. You love what you do and roll with the punches. I tend to be a crisis achiever. A looming deadline or event gets me motivated. LOL, i spend more time reading your’s and Bonnie Hunters blogs, checking out your’s and other quilters latest Youtube videos, checking out quilt ideas on Pinterest planning and dreaming of the projects i will probably never get to! You’ve got a “get it done” attitude which is inspiring!

  10. Absolutely true…busy people get more done! I think it is a question of time management. Busy people are more aware of time, so if a task gets added to their list they can more easily adjust for the additional item added to the workload. I know that sounds like such a simple explanation, but it is true, and always will be. Busy people do get more done…

  11. I totally agree that busy people get more done. Since I retired last year. I spend much more time eating breakfast and starting my day. I find with quilts, if the quilt has a deadline, it gets done. If not, it stays in a pile. So my goal this year is to get those quilts done. I also find it helps to make
    a reminder on my phone to make a call, pay a bill, etc. I think you are a master multitasker, Jo!

  12. Busy people do get more done. I am retired now and waste so much time on the computer planning quilts and projects, reading blogposts, etc. When I was working I had to get up early, get showered and dressed and drive to work by a certain time. After work, I would rush home to change, grab my supplies and projects and run off to painting classes. Sometimes taking different kinds of classes at night at the local high school. For years I never watched any T.V. I had a sewing machine set up at one end of the table and the other end had my paints. There were constant things in progress and I always looked forward to doing them. Now I feel like everything just keeps piling up and I can’t seem to get anywhere. You are better off if you can just keep up the momentum.

  13. Me again. I can’t read your post “Community Quilts From Cheryl”. I tried clicking on the “read more” from the email, going into the archives and then clicking on the title of the post and also tried the “comments”. I couldn’t get there, just numbers and letters again.

  14. Along the same line as this. When i was commuting to work if i got up early, i ended up leaving for work late. Why? I did things slower and did things that i normally didn’t do in the morning because I THOUGHT i had extra time. Mornings went much better if i just got up, got ready and headed out the door.

  15. When I first retired, I didn’t get much done at all. I always felt guilty if I tried doing something fun because there is ALWAYS more housework that could be done. So, I first tried going by a list of things to do for each day but constantly lost track of the list. I had to come up with something simple that I could remember off the top of my head. I assigned jobs by their first letter to match the first letter of the week. For example: Sunday = stairs / Monday = mirrors, microwave / Tuesday = towels, trash, toilet, etc… You get the idea. When my work is done for that day I could guiltlessly give myself permission to go have fun, knowing that the other chores would get done on another day.

  16. Colleen in Central Oregon

    Hi Jo, my mother always said that the more you have to do, the more you’ll get done. I find that it’s true because I will make a list the day before of things I need to accomplish. Also, I have been getting several of your posts that were encrypted lately.

  17. Shirley from Calmar

    You are on to something. I worked a 60 hour week while raising 3 kids and helped with farming. I got more done at home than I do now after I retired. I seemed to work well under pressure. Now I can pick and choose, but do not get it all done. Best part,. I don’t care beyond the essentials being accomplished.

  18. People are most productive just before a vacation because we prioritize, make lists, stay focused and don’t waste time on silly stuff that doesn’t get things done (think social media, tv, chatting at the water cooler at work, etc.) if we approached our day like tomorrow is a vacation, we’d enjoy so much more quality time with our family AND productivity.

  19. Hi JO! i also get alot done, i do find that after several days of “alot”, i tend to have a day of “not much”,[comparativly], and i’ve gotten to recognize that my system just needs some
    of that fluff time. i’ve stopped fighting it and try to enjoy it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. Rebecca Burch

    I can’t comment on the page it’s happening on so I’ll try it here. Out of the 3 (usually) articles in each newsletter/email, at least one is in all code since you switched servers. To ight it was the 1st one, the quilts (☹️). Just an FYI. I love your little daily missives!

  21. Rebecca Burch

    It’s always been my experience that the more I have to do, the more I get done. Now that I’m retired & don’t have many deadlines, I tend to dawdle or get distracted. I need to get on track! I admire you & your ability!

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