I’ve been making quite a lot of things over the last month, but not been so good about blogging about them! So yesterday I decided to tweet what I was up to through the day, and show what it’s like being a crafter with a dog and a chronic illness (ME/cfs). Here’s the collected tweets, plus a few extra tips.
There are several ways to use a timer to help you get stuff done.
- Top tip from David Gullen: when you’ve got a lot of projects on the go and can’t decide which to work on, pick one and set the timer for a decent block of time (e.g. an hour). Work on the first project until the timer goes off and then reset the timer and switch projects. Repeat as required. (You may want to add in breaks.)
- When you’ve got something you’re putting off, pick a short period of time that you can definitely commit to working for. Set aside all your distractions, set the timer, and work solidly until the timer goes off. Then feel smug and don’t worry about it until the next day. Fifteen minutes a day (an hour and three quarters a week) on something tricky or unpleasant will get it done a lot faster than zero minutes at all because you can’t face it.
- Another way to use the timer is to work on a project consistently if you’re having difficulty concentrating or anxiety about starting. Pick a work time and a rest time – e.g. 20 minutes work, 40 minutes off. Again, the work time needs to be something that doesn’t scare you. Your rest time can either be actual rest if you’re a fellow spoonless person, or just time doing something else. Repeat as required in the day to make steady progress on your project.
It only takes a surprisingly short training session to exercise your dog’s brain and get them to quiet down. Stuffed Kongs and snuffle mats also work well. Or if you’re knackered or desperate, chuck a handful of treats in the garden for your dog to sniff for. (If your dog is ok with a little dairy, a small amount of grated cheese works brilliantly.)
I didn’t use the timer because I knew it would take me somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes, and that was fine for a crafting session. Also, I finished something. Hooray!
(My typo blindness is still active in that I can’t spot them until 2 seconds after I’ve tweeted.)
BTW, watching TV does not count as a rest break. It’s still (a very passive) activity. I use the Calm app which gives short, guided mediations. You can try it for free for a few sessions and see if you like it.
Habitica really helps me keep track of my essential daily tasks, and my to-do list. Plus, if you’ve ever felt like you should get a reward for adulting, with this app, you do!
I always forget to build in time for untangling the inevitable mess my project boxes get themselves into when I’m not looking.
And that was pretty much it for my crafting day. Sometimes I get really frustrated that I have to work so slowly. And judging by the general tail-dragging, brainfog and sleepiness today, I overdid it. Even though I got 3 rest breaks, I need to build in more for a day where I’m trying to get a lot done. I’m still learning how to pace myself. My advice to fellow ME/cfs* sufferers is to remember to take into account all the “hidden” activities (e.g. lighting the fire involves chopping kindling into smaller pieces, doing the laundry in a break is still exertion etc.) and be very generous with your rest.
I did finish the scoubidou necklace today. Completing projects is immensely satisfying. That’s why I sometimes like to swap to small projects to give myself a bit of a boost.
I have a ton of ideas for new projects I want to try out, but I’m going to have to be the tortoise, not the hare. I’ll just stack them all up in my Habitica to-do list, so I don’t forget.
*A small rant about ME. Contrary to the NHS web page, GET is not an effective treatment for ME/cfs. While CBT might help manage feelings around the illness, and also the depression/anxiety that is often a symptom, it can’t treat the illness itself. This is because it is a physical sickness, not a psychological one. ME sufferers have differences in their blood, gut bacteria and cell mitochondria function to healthy people. Follow the ME Assocation (also on Facebook) for up to date info on research.