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You know I talked about the 80/20 rule in a previous posting – 80% of your work is done in 20% of your time – well, this is not just over the course of one day.  It also extends to my week, or my month, or even my year.

This week has just been an amazingly productive week and not only in weaving.  I’ve felt really well with loads of energy, and have suddenly surprised myself in the garden, digging borders, weeding, splitting and transplanting, making hanging baskets and troughs.  If you know me, you know this is an aberration!  I’m not a gardener, in any shape or form!  However, I have some wonderful neighbours, and found myself the recipient of a number of plants, starting with a hosta and a fuschia.  Next followed the trough, made out of an old Belfast sink.  Ray has done a number of these troughs for our neighbourhood, and a gift of one of these is a treasure!  I felt it incumbent on me to accept these gifts graciously and to use them in the spirit in which they were given.

This isn’t just a sentimental thing.  This is a reciprocation of support.  If someone cares enough to give me a gift of a plant, then it is my responsibility to appreciate that gift and honour the person who gave it to me.  Responsibility sounds a heavy word here, but that is not the way I intend it.  My mother would say it was incumbent on me to show my appreciation in a way that the giver would appreciate.  I could repay my neighbour with a different gift, and that we have done, but as a gardener, he appreciates my willingness to learn about the plants he’s given me, especially as he knows I’m not a natural gardener. 

It could be that he’s just got so many plants in pots that he’s desperate to get rid of them somehow – as one of his neighbours told me! – but I like to think there’s more to the gift than that.  And even if there isn’t, it’s still kind of him to give them to me when he could easily sell them at a local market.

Anyway, where was I?  Oh yes, gardening.  Not only have I done a tremendous amount of clearing and tidying in just a few hours over a few days, but I’ve maintained my baby jacquard looms, cleaned out the stables where they are housed, done some house-cleaning (even more rare than the gardening!!) and achieved my week’s goals with my weaving plans. 

Weaving-wise, I have finally learnt that I can’t do everything at once, and have set my goals much more realistically, aiming at specific objectives over a certain length of time.  This is helping me focus on just one thing at a time, and not trying to spread myself too thinly and ending up chasing my brain round in circles!  It also helps having several time-frames to help give perspective.  So I can now look at my 2-year plan (sounds extreme, but these months just zoom by!), my year plan, my 6-month plan and my month plan to help me focus on the most important elements I need to achieve. I can work day-by-day knowing I have a set period of time to focus on certain topics.  This doesn’t stop me getting ideas and continuing to think about other topics, but it does help me to jot the ideas and thinking down and put them into a folder that I can return to at the appointed time, leaving my mind free to concentrate on my current topic. 

It’s working well for now, but we’ll see what happens when my son comes back from uni later this month….