how i knit to stay sane

November 13, 2008

Mommy’s Little Time-sucks

Filed under: Uncategorized — K @ 5:16 pm

I’ve noticed that, when I feel motivated to a particular goal, I can achieve it, usually easily, along with being productive in several other pursuits as well.  When I have a specific goal, say knitting 20 preemie hats in two weeks, I’m *on* it.  (Well, 14 down, 6 to go by tomorrow, but on the days I knit them, I do 4 a day, so no problem, right?)  But in addition to that, my house is clean, my kids are dressed and presentable, a full week’s worth of meals have been planned and the plan has been kept to, and I baked cookies and made mints for various social engagements.  Amazing, no?

But when I don’t feel a particular goal pressuring me to keep to it, my house gets a little lot less tidy, my husband has to pull his t-shirts out of the dryer (hey, at least they’re clean!), my kids look like they’ve been eating the playdough (maybe *that’s* where it went….), and even my knitting doesn’t draw me in.  And that’s when I enter

doo-doo, doo-doo (hum the Twilight Zone theme song here)

The Time-Suck Zone.

The Time-Suck Zone is, of course, where you do anything BUT something that is actually productive.  Activities that might end in productivity are shunned just in case (I like to leave the light off in the bathroom, so I can deny the need to clean it).  And, just in case you are in the mood to eschew productivity, I’ll share a couple of my favorite time-sucks with you.

  1. I might not feel like knitting, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to look at it!  And Ravelry is always there for me to poke around.  (For any of my friends popping in to check on me who don’t knit or crochet, Ravelry is like Facebook or Myspace for fiber arts.  There’s social interaction as well as good solid knowledge about patterns, yarns, etc.)  Now, please note, Ravelry does NOT count as a time-suck if you are doing actual useful research.  Ravelry is only a time-suck if you are aimlessly following links, poking around, or watching the “radar” posts screen for chunks of time, often while eating popcorn.  (If you haven’t already found me, I’m knitonehugtoo on Ravelry — see you there!)
  2. Knitting can also be used as a time-suck in a pinch.  My favorite version looks like this:  I’m bored of all the projects currently on the needles.  I pull out all my books to look at patterns, stitch dictionaries, etc.  I finally settle on a possible pattern, and a yarn it would be great in.  Please note: the yarn can NOT be present in your stash already.  Use of stashed yarn is productive, see also “Stash-busting.”  You must forsake everything — dirty dishes, dirty diapers, hungry kids — in order to rush to the yarn store.  Upon returning, throw a cookie at each kid to effectively distract them while you cast on.  Be sure to choose a project that will be unfulfilling after satisfying your start-itis.  It also helps if you choose something that you and anyone you know wouldn’t actually wear.
  3. In order to look productive, one may always choose a chore to do that doesn’t actually need doing, for example, reorganizing the drawer where you keep the extra toothpaste tubes.  Do this chore lovingly, thoroughly, and when small children pester you (something about blood, maybe), explain that Mommy’s busy right now — go play!
  4. Online game and puzzle sites.  Make sure it’s not at a site where you could actually win something with your points — remember, it must be absolutely fruitless labor!  My personal favorite is griddlers.net.  I do like to justify this as “it keeps my brain working — I really have to delve into some deep logic to solve these puzzles.  (And I do, depending on the difficulty of puzzle I choose.  But I could achieve the same by, say, making up a knitting pattern or a chart for intarsia or duplicate stitch.)  If you like a good logic puzzle, though, I highly recommend these — tons of fun, they’re sort of like paint-by-numbers using logic.  Try it — I’m sure you won’t get sucked in!
  5. I also like to spend a lot of time researching recipes, decoration ideas and crafts that I have no earthly interest in.  For example, shopping at Wal-Mart, I buy the country ham I’m craving (what is it with my boy-pregnancies and salt?!?) and I see salt-pork.  I can look at it and see that it’s fattier than any meat I’m interested in, and I know I’m not going to buy it.  But I look up recipes for it when I get home.  None of the recipes look at all appetizing to me, but I look for the most complicated ones, or to see what they have in common with each other.  I analyze what the best ways to serve it might be.  This does not achieve time-suck status if you research something that you may use at any point in the future.
  6. My last time-suck that I can think of — making this list.

Let me know if I missed anything — i’m always willing to learn new ways to waste time instead of doing what I’m supposed to be doing!  Speaking of which, I should get back to Preemie cap #15!

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