I often get asked how I make so many things….. “especially with the three kids and the travel – I don’t know how you do it?” A while ago I wrote a blog post that describes many of the ways I fit in crafting time. But last week I read something that made me think that that blog post had missed something rather important. Yes - all those ways to fit in craft are totally true. For example I do craft on-the-go and make sure I have things dotted around the house. But I think there is a better way to sum up my productivity and that is – I have made craft a habit.
This year I have been trying to start running again. Since having my third kid (many years ago!) I haven't been exercising regularly and I really want to fix it. I try in spits and spurts but nothing really sticks. Then this week I came across this article in an old magazine about this idea called #runstreak. With #runstreak you commit to running a mile a day, every day, for as long as the streak lasts (some people do a year, some a month etc). No days off. Part of the idea is that by making a commitment to do the streak, you turn off the internal “should I, shouldn’t I, maybe today I will, or I won’t” rubbish that goes on when you have days off, and over time running becomes a habit. Now I know this internal dialogue is a barrier for me – I find excuses and make it hard when it doesn’t need to be. It is as simple as a. put on sneakers then b. walk out door.
I got to thinking that while at the moment running isn’t a habit, making and crafting totally is. I always pick some craft up on the way out the door along with my keys, wallet, mobile and camera. I pick up some craft when I have my mid-morning coffee or am watching a movie, or when I have completed a good run of housework. I always knit at school pickup, while the kid is at violin, while I am a passenger in the car. I always try to sew a few seams while they are in the bath.
Making habitually is littered throughout my life. Almost like breathing. I just do it, without thought. It really is just part of my everyday.
That is not to say that everything I make is like this. Obviously some things require thought and planning, time and space, but I always have projects underway that can be done without thought. Which is how the majority of my making happens.
Taking photos for me is now also the same; habitual. The camera is often in my hand as we travel, and I do it almost without thinking. Sometimes I consciously put it away in order to make sure I don’t take photos and am able to just be. And it is the same with my craft. If I want to be sure I don't pick it up then I need to put it away as the habit is so ingrained.
I cast on the cowl in the photos for this exact purpose – to have something to make habitually. At the time everything else I was working on required thought. The cardigan was also made in the same way. Easy knitting to be done with my fingers and not with my head.
Suggestions for how to make crafting a habit.
1. Start small
One of the articles I found while reading about #runstreak gave 29 ways to successfully ingrain a new habit. The jist of the article was that habits are hard to change and so you need to start small and only try to change one thing at a time. Start with just 5 minutes a day of your new activity. The idea is that the new habit would slowly become like having a shower or brushing your teeth.
2. Choose a trigger activity
Another suggestion from the article (when adapted to crafting rather than running) was that you should choose one thing that you want to be a trigger – tv, cartrips, school pickup. Just try to have a project ready for that activity each time you do it.
You will be surprised what you achieve by doing a single stitch here and there.
Is your crafting habitual or do you try to carve out crafting time? For many of you I am guessing that like me it is both?