How to be productive

The number one question we’re asked is how we are so productive. We wish we had more hours in the day, that would be simple, but no! Here are our favourite ways to make best use of our time:

Mix it up

Vary the activities that you do each day. If you have a number of different projects on the go at once, you can change between them which helps keep everything feeling fresh and energy levels high. Sharing your available time between differently paced activities is a really good idea. We like to switch between hand and machine sewing, messy artwork and quiet drawing.

Be organised

If you’re going to follow our lead and mix up your activities and projects each day, then you’ll need to be organised. Keep everything you need for a particular project or activity together in a bag or box so you won’t waste time looking for things.


Using a basket is a pretty way to keep everything for a project together.

Make use of lost time

Don’t sit there watching paint dry, if your sketchbook page or painting is too wet to work on, start another. We always work on a number of sketchbooks and paintings at once. It not only helps with being productive, but can help stop that sense of preciousness that can come about from only working on one at a time. Paint a page in your sketchbook just before you go to bed, it’ll be dry by morning and ready to go.

Break it down

Any task can seem daunting and impossible to fit in if you think of it as a whole. Instead, break everything down into small doable jobs that you can fit into even the smallest amount of time. Even if you only have 10 minutes, you can clear the table, put things ready for later, sort out some fabrics, cut some templates, select some threads.


Working on more than one sketchbook at once will soon mean you have a shelf-full!

Don’t waste it

It’s easy to waste time and our busy lives only encourage it. Make use of time in waiting rooms, travelling on the train, watching TV at night, waiting for the kids to come out of school. Start a sketchbook or notebook, or begin a hand sewing project that’s easy to transport, English paper piecing or some kantha style hand quilting are both perfect examples.

What are your best tips for being creative? If you’re a DesignMattersTV viewer, pop into the forum and let us know!