Many moons ago, I used to teach. It was my first job out of Uni and I really enjoyed it. I taught various courses, which lasted anything from one to five days. There was a lot to cram into each day. Some groups would whizz through it. Others not. In order to cover everything, I soon learnt that even the last five minutes before a break, could not be wasted. I could introduce a whole new topic effectively. Strangely, this often turned out to be the most productive time.
Ok. So how does a photo of tomatoes, fit in with my teaching methods? Good question. I’m glad you asked. It’s the “five minute” part that you’ll need to focus on.
Autumn is one of my most productive times of the year. Busy time processing the garden produce, engineering changes to my schedule and making plans. A time to buy a new sparkling pencil case and fill it with sharp pencils and clean erasers, while flicking through the crisp new pages of a notebook. Hmm.
Except, I’m not. I seem to have lost my……buzz. Every task just seems too big. Too big even to contemplate. Starting.
I’m wasting time and resources. So. Action required. In an attempt to find my autumn energy, I’m setting myself a series of five minute challenges. Every job feels better if it’s split up into smaller chunks. Right? And I just happen to like five minute moments of attack (see above). Spending no less and no more than five minutes.
Today, I spent five minutes harvesting our outdoor cherry tomatoes. I collected 3.5 lbs. Lots left, but I’m keeping it small and in the 5 minute rule.
Later in the morning, I dug out my passata maker. Five minutes later. Hey presto! I had a pint’s worth of liquid tomato. No bits. It only used about half the tomatoes I harvested, but then again, I’m keeping this small and in the 5 minute rule.
Look at the colour! I don’t make a lot of passata in the normal way, but it’s nice to have some in the middle of winter. Freezing it in ice cube trays, with basil, ensures a taste of summer when the temperature has dropped. When I really need it.
The rest of the tomatoes? Oh, they’ll be processed as pasta sauce. In my next five minute challenge. Completing one task feels like an achievement. I can already feel a boost to my energy level.
I’m interested. How do you break down long jobs? 10 minutes? Until a milestone?
Sitting on the ledge of a window in our kitchen is a collection of tiny silver goblets. Made from the shiny foil that is often found protecting chocolate. If carefully peeled off the chocolate, the paper can be wrapped around the end of a pencil and crafted into a goblet fit for a king. A king the size of a mouse, but no less a king.
Well. It’s either that or scrunched up and put in the recycling bin.
It’s Wednesday. #AlphabetPhoto linky day. My T is for tiny. Are you joining in?
(only half the paper templates removed. Causing some wrinkles!)
I have created another patchwork block for your Dear Daughter Quilt. Something very satisfying about adding it to my pile of completed pieces. All waiting to be sewn together.
I very nearly abandoned this project. It would’ve been easy to take the blocks and made a cushion cover. Calling it a day on the rest, but I know I would’ve been reminded of my lack of perseverance every time I saw it.
You won’t be surprised that persevering is the subject of my next letter to you. A topic that often comes up. I hear you say that you just want to give up on something. Occasionally, I can see why and understand that it is a real choice, but most of the time it is a knee felt reaction to an obstacle. I live in hope that I can tell one from the other.
In this letter, I’d like to give you some pointers so you too can differentiate.
Forgetting the dream.
At the start of a project, the final objective is often as clear as a picture, and exciting. The very thought of achieving it is all the energy you need to make a start and
dream plan. As time goes by, and the work is put in, the picture begins to fade. As does the enthusiasm. We’ve all been there.
It is the time it takes, that’s often the killer. The solution is to break a long project down into smaller goals. The end result may fade in and out of focus, but the next milestones should be clear.
(Tip: using freezer paper makes precise fussy cutting in patchwork really easy.)
“Everyone else is better at this than me.”
Maybe some people are better. Maybe some like to think they’re the cream cheese on the subject, but one thing I can guarantee is, that not everyone’s better at it than you. There are plenty who start and never finish. Don’t forget, everyone is travelling along a path and have their doubts and encounter obstacles at some point. Who is to say that you won’t overtake them, through your own determination?
A good question may be, why? Why are they better at this than you? Do they work at it more? Did they start before you? Do they have an
unfair advantage? You’re a smart cookie. I know, I say that every time, but once you have figured out how they do it, maybe you too could do the same. In the long run, you’re not in competition with them. Don’t compare yourself with them, but learn from them. The only person you need to compete with, is you.
(saving tiny off-cuts from fabric in a jar, for another fun project I have in mind.)
Other people’s attitudes
Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Let’s face it. We all have likes and dislikes. The problem comes, when our opinion puts others off for no good reason.
“Opinion: what you think of something: a belief or judgement” – Oxford Primary Dictionary
If it doesn’t effect them, then their opinion is nothing more than an opinion. No two ways about it. If you like something, that is up to you. So long as it doesn’t hurt anyone, including yourself, then why should someone’s opinion stop you? A good question at this point is to wonder why they choose to share their opinion? Are they jealous, scared or showing off? I’ll be returning to this one in another letter.
(In the meantime, I might suggest that you don’t choose to share a project with them. For example, if they don’t like singing, then you practising in the same room as them is going to end badly!)
The smell of success!
I cannot begin to tell you how good it feels to succeed. Fortunately, you have succeeded in so many areas, that you know how good it feels. When I find my enthusiasm wavering and the hint of giving up, I remind myself why I’m doing it in the first place. I imagine what it will be like once I’ve reached my goal. I visualize it, so well, I can almost taste it!
Don’t give up, unless you really mean to. Take a moment, or more, to decide.
your loving mother