Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Think With Your Head, Not Your Feet

I recently read an article that stressed the importance of taking a “thinking day” every 3 months to ensure that you are looking at the big picture and taking the time necessary to focus on the tasks at hand. While I believe this to be a great idea, I disagree with the point of waiting 3 months to think about your next steps.

Thinking is vital to performing actions. In fact, I would suggest you take the time to think at least once a week (Ha! I try to think daily…). Why? Because the more actions that you take without thinking, the more likely you are traveling further away from what you were trying to cause in the first place.

When I was in school learning how to sew, it was easy to get caught up in a list of steps that needed to be finished in order to construct your garment.  You would easily find yourself sewing one seam, getting up and walking to the ironing station to press the hem, then over to the serger to finish an edge, and then back to the sewing machine to repeat the cycle. At times, it would feel like an eternity just trying to create one sleeve of the garment because you were running around trying to check off your list of pattern instructions. You could spend 8 hours sewing without much to show for your hard work and concentration. Sensing our collective frustration, our sewing teacher would say repeatedly, “Think with your head, not your feet.”

She was right- we were spending so much time thinking about tasks individually, that we were not seeing the bigger picture. If you are working on a shirt sleeve- why not make both at the same time? If you have 7 straight seems to sew, why not sew them ALL before heading to the iron to press?  Why not save all of your ironing until after you have sewn ALL of your seems? Why not finish the edging of your garment all at once?

Suddenly, sewing was quick, efficient, and we felt like professionals. Our teacher would tell us, “The difference between Holly Hobby and a Professional Seamstress is the ability to use your brain and not wait for others to tell you when to take your next step. But you won’t ever finish your garment if you’re running around and wasting time. Feet were made for dancing, not thinking.”

It’s easy to go forward with the task in hand and check off your list- it’s not always easy to see where all of those tasks will take you. Remember that you are always causing something bigger to happen around you- make sure you take the time to know exactly what that is.

by Kristen Keyes

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