Five Each Week!

Five what?  Could be five Dr. Pepper each week.  Could be five . . what?

I work best when I play little games with myself.  One of my favorite “games” is trying to beat Mother Nature.  If I get up before daylight, I win!  If she gets up and turns on the lights before I wake up, then she wins.  Lately, Mother Nature is kicking my butt!  I think it’s a conspiracy though — the weather radio goes off all night because Mother Nature creates storms to keep me awake, and then I sleep past daylight and she wins.  Cheating hussy!

Sometimes I put a load of clothes on to wash and I try to vacuum, unpack the dishwasher, dust — whatever and my goal is to get it all done before the washer gets finished.

So now you know how my days go — a race against anything . . everything . . and nothing!  🙂

But my latest game I play with myself (I really should get out more, don’t you think?) is that I plan to use five bobbins each week.  I set a goal for myself and you’d think I was committing a crime if I don’t meet my goal.  So, if I say I’m going to do something, I really try hard to do it.  Late on Sunday evening, I make sure I have five bobbins wound.

By next Sunday night, hopefully all of the bobbins will have been used and five more will have been filled for the next week.  These bobbins are only for piecing – not quilting or attaching bindings.

You might also notice that my Bernina is sitting on top of a 301 cabinet because when I bought the Bernina in September (that’s nine months ago!), Vince said “Oh, I’ll make you a cabinet!” and . . I’m still waiting and my guess is I’ll be waiting for at least nine more months and some day I’ll get tired of waiting and will either buy a cabinet or have one built.

Back to those five bobbins — it’s really not hard to use five bobbins in a week if I just get downstairs and sew.  This little challenge keeps me from sitting in the recliner all week and knitting.

Do you play any similar games with yourself?  Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this!


  1. 1


    I haven’t challenged myself to that extent yet — but you do tempt me to give it a try. Maybe I’ll go to work this morning — after I have five cups of coffee.

  2. 2

    SarahB says

    I don’t challenge myself at all because I doom myself to failure by setting goals that are beyond human strength! However, five bobbins sounds wonderful!!! Right now I am getting about 2-3 bobbins and I am spending only an average of 20 minutes to 1 hour a day. Of course it’s cheating if I am doing raw-edge applique but I love it so…. I think I might also give it a try — after my “tea” party this morning with my girlfriends.

  3. 3


    I just know I always forget to check the bobbin and I run out at the most inconvenient times. It’s a pain. I do hate that you have all this moving worry; wish you would find a house and it would end and you could get on with your new life.

  4. 5

    Carol Kimble says

    15 minutes! I can do anything for 15 minutes. I set the timer and away I go. Now it is only stuff I really don’t want to do like dusting.

    Or – I love to figure out what minute I will arrive when driving long distances (which I also love to do). I see a mileage sign, check the speedometer and calculate away. So much fun! I love number play!

    I am going to try the 5 bobbin goal – sounds like my cup of tea.

  5. 6


    I don’t set goals like that, but I do bribe myself. Thing like – I can sew for an hour if I do the vacuuming first. Or I can sit in the sun with my book after I weed the garden. Without those bribes, none of my chores would get done 🙂

  6. 7

    Cindy in NC says

    I have gotten ZERO sewing done this past week. The reason? BATS! My sewing space (which I call “The Tree Fort” because it is the play space I always wanted, but never had, as a kid) is the finished, walk-up attic in our house. Last Wednesday my daughter discovered a bat in the unfinished storage portion of the attic. This is despite the fact that we had special screening installed on the eaves last fall. My husband checked around and assured me there were no more creatures up there. When I finally got the courage to go up on Sunday afternoon there was a dead bat right at the foot of my sewing machine. I don’t mind bugs and bees, and I’m even OK with things like lizards and snakes, but I draw the line at bats. Summer is usually a productive time for me, but I’m not sure when I’ll be brave enough to go up there again. In the meantime I’m hand sewing yoyos on a quilt top and crocheting and trying not to think about what might be going on up in The Tree Fort. Holy Batcave!

  7. 8

    Mary Beth says

    Rod plays games like this all the time. It amazes me. My mind is blank pretty much all the time. I bet you are a lot like him and are thinking, thinking, thinking constantly. Sometimes he asks me, “What are you thinking about?” When I answer “nothing!” I am serious….he starts laughing. I need to make myself play more games….I might be more productive.

  8. 9

    Linda in TX says

    Oh yeah – I get just what you’re doing. I usually get up at 5:00 (old habits from before retirement) and then see how much I can get done by 8:00. Four loads of laundry, bird feeders filled, kitchen cleaned, dishwasher unloaded, pots on patios watered, dinner determined and thawing, etc. If I am finished by 8:00, I’m in the sewing room. Well, I’m in the sewing room no matter what time I’m finished! I usually knit at night but right now I have so many Linus quilts pieced and ready for quilting, this week’s goal is to get at least one a day quilted and ready to be bound in the evening. Like you, I have always played these “how much can I get done” games – and I always have to do the ‘chore’ stuff before I can do the ‘fun’ stuff. Weird I know – but we get a lot done, huh!

  9. 10


    I play the timer game too. 20 minutes to do whatever I need to do, then I can do what I want. If I’m done before my 20, then that gets added to the next sew session. It helps me to get up and move around. I also play the bobbin game when I really am on a sewing roll. 1 full bobbin, then I have to come out of the room.
    Fun and games keeps us from being boring. 😉

  10. 11

    Donna P. says

    My game is that I try to get my scheduled cleaning done before a certain time. I say scheduled because of my weird working hours and days off. So, after I do my “computer stuff” and eat breakfast, I get ready for the day and then it’s off to the races to get cleaning done before a certain time. Then I know that I will have “all that time” to quilt before dh gets home in the afternoon. Weird I know but to see “all that time” in front of me makes me smile. 🙂

  11. 12


    Yes, I do the laundry thing – how much sewing can I get done while the washer and dryer are going? Maybe that’s what I need – more laundry to do!

    • 12.1


      Come to my house, I could sew for days if I played the laundry game! I do do laundry while sewing, that way the hub doesnt think I am doing “nothing”.

  12. 13


    That is hilarious! I do the same thing. Everything is race to me. And that goes for at work to. Always racing every day. Now I know that when I’m hurrying to finish something that Judy is trying to beat the clock too.

  13. 14

    Doe in Mi says

    I’ve always played some kind of game to get myself moving on housework. When my 3 kids were young the timer was set or I’d have them cleaning their rooms and I’d do mine and we’d see who could do it the fastest. But, for myself, I always made lists and would put times behind each chore and see if I could get my list done at the times I allowed myself.

  14. 15


    Wow – I think I am in a wind tunnel of doing the same old thing every day – the house goes on the market this week and I am sick of packing – so because I have worked so hard for the past two months, I will get to sew all I want (neatly) for the duration. That is my temporary, today goal. Judy C

  15. 16


    I do something similar to this. I tend to count things down. Like if I am reading a book, I’m really excited about when I am halfway through it. And if I am working on a pattern, I keep myself going by continually telling myself that I am making progress because I am on step 5 or 9 or whatever.

    Of course this also works against me. When I am at a retreat or on vacation, I think, “Oh, drat! Half my time is gone already!” lol

  16. 17

    margo says

    I play racing gamess too.

    My favorite is putting my tea mug with water into the microwave to heat the water – 3 minutes. Then it is a race to unload the dishwasher and load it! It is a challenge.

    • 17.1


      Yeah Buddy!! That’s one of my favorites. I try to unload in 2 minutes – and reload by the end of the 3rd. I have to move really fast to beat that timer!!

      I really had no idea others did these types of games. We play “see if you can beat me cleaning the room” games too.

  17. 18


    I time out chores. Some days it’s 30 minutes and some days an hour but I do some sort of household chore during that time and then the rest of the day is mind. Well, actually I do my exercise very first thing so that I get it over with before I actually wake up!

    I need to set a timer for the internet to make myself get away from the laptop!

  18. 19

    Sandy says

    I jump up during tv commercials and get things done, lol. Unloading the dishwasher, taking out garbage, starting a load of laundry, sorting junk mail, it is amazing what can be done in 3 minutes.

    I am not good working for long periods of time since we are retired (and I don’t do much anymore, lol) but work and hour, play and hour is a good plan for me. I would have way more time for things if I limited my computer time! I do start my day with your blog Judy, and that isn’t going to change.

    • 20.1

      Debbie says

      Mother Nature kicks my butt all summer but all winter I kick her butt. It get light at about 3 or 4 a.m. right now but in the winter it is dark until about 8 a.m. or 9 a.m.

  19. 21


    Sounds like we all need games to get the HOUSEWORK done!
    Yuck! I try to get a few things done on a ‘list”, (dishes, bathroom, vacuuming, etc.) and “then” I can go down and sew. Sometimes I also just say “screw it”, and go sew anyway! I probably should have more games I play, but have never really been into games, and challenges just don’t motivate me. My hub doesnt understand it (he grew up in a VERY competitive family) and every chance he gets he competes against himself or someone else. He can’t stand it that I really don’t care if I win or lose. He is all about win, win, win. He is also an approval junkie, and was raised on guilt and can’t STAND it when he can’t guilt me into ANYTHING. But I have learned, only YOU can make yourself feel guilty. And it is true. And I just don’t feel too guilty anymore if the chores don’t get done-oh well! They will, eventually…

  20. 22


    I spend and hour in the morning getting chores done and another hour mid afternoon before DH comes home making sure anything left undone gets done. As for sewing time, the biggest challenge is seeing how much I can get done before the kids need me again.

  21. 23


    I try the timer thing – set for an 15 minutes or an hour and then work on a project. But, it’s funny since once I am in the sewing room, I tend to ingore the timer when it goes off if I am on a roll. Then the rest of the house stays a mess.

    I am having to switch the timing of when I do things. It’s been so hot, that I have to make sure I go out first thing in the morning before it heats up. In the winter, I usually have to wait till the afternoon to spend time outside!

  22. 24

    lw says

    I like loud music for taking the pain out of cleaning– nothing like rock n’ roll to take your mind off cleaning the bathroom.

    I also make deals with myself. If I do my workout routine and don’t miss days, I am allowed to buy a new blouse every so often.

  23. 25

    Elizabeth McDonald says

    Judy, as usual you have hit a common chord! My favorite is to set up the coffee pot, make sure the tap water is hot enough to wash dishes, then turn the coffee pot on and try to wash all the dishes, and wipe off all the kitchen surfaces before the coffee has finished dripping! Yup, everything is a race here! I do a bobbin thing, but I try to wind 12 to 20 at a time, and then use them all up, and then wind 12 to 20 again. I know, crazy but it keeps me happy…

  24. 26

    Penny Holliday says

    Hi Judy
    I make this deal with myself, it’s not a race but it’s certainly a big challenge for me! I enjoy online shopping ~ ups, fedex & a little van labeled ontrac (for amazon) do deliver here regularly. So the deal I make w/ myself is to complete the days housework & other boring stuff that I’m really not motivated to do. After completely the necessary but boring stuff I then allow myself to open & enjoy any exciting mail or packages received that day!! Sometimes this deal is so difficult to keep!!

  25. 27


    I try to unload the dishwasher in the three minutes it takes to heat water for my tea!! Or try to fold a load of laundry while lunch heats up… it’s the small things..

  26. 28


    I thought, how silly those people are, I don’t do that! But then I started thinking. I guess I do do that. Hmmm. I am crazier than I thought previously.

    My game is to put the tea bags in the microwave for iced tea for 5 minutes and rush to the bathroom and back before it stops. And to see how much watering I can get done before DiNozzo finishes his dinner bowl and moves Dutch out of his. And to hang the quilts of the number Judy calls for the month on the design wall until the next number is called. Then I can take them down and put them back into the UFO box.

    glen: yep, crazier

  27. 30


    My greatest incentive is the UFO challenge–on Patchworks Times and my own quilt guild. I’ve gotten more UFOs finished this year than the past 3 years combined–and the year’s still young! I only allow myself to start a new project is my UFO is finished.

  28. 31

    Mary says

    It seems I always want to do one thing on my daily to do list more than the other things so my game is to do the things I don’t want to do first to get to what I want to do….keeps me from always putting off the same things.

  29. 32


    “Cheating hussy!” Love this!!!

    You always have such great ideas for motivation! I still do (well attempt) the three item list of things to get done that you told me about way back. My new one starting next week is to spend at least 30 minutes each day reading a book; 30 minutes each day working on my quilting or crochet. Wish me luck!

  30. 33

    Darlene S says

    It sounds like a lot of us are stitched tog with the same thread when it comes to “beating the clock”. I too play a few of the same games that I’m reading for others — can’t start new quilts until UFO is finished for the month, doing other things while the microwave is heating water, set timer for cleaning an hour, then get to do something fun for at least that long, and a few more. It does make me more productive and I don’t feel like I’ve wasted the whole day. Keep up the good tips, Judy. Dar in MO

  31. 34

    Carolyn Thomas says

    When my sister and I were teens and had assigned chores to do, we would set the timer for 10 minutes and try to see who could get done with a particular chore first. Even now I use similar “encouragements” to get me through what I consider necessary drudgery. 🙂