I don't claim to be an expert by any means, but I have learned a few things in my 61 years (I had a birthday Monday!). There are a few time management techniques I've learned over the years that will add up to give you extra time to spend sewing, quilting, or whatever else you might want to do.
First, develop routines that will make your life easier.
For instance, I set the tone for the day by making my bed as I get out of it. Before I get out of bed, I straighten the pillows and pull up the sheet and cover as far as they will go. Then I get out of bed and put the decorative pillows on. (NOTE: It's a good idea to wait for any other person in your bed to get out first!) It might not work for you, but for me it gives me a boost to always have my bed made and looking good. It makes me feel "organized".
Here are a few other things that work for me:
Do your laundry every day or every other day in small, manageable loads instead of one humongous load once a week. Put away the clothes as soon as you get them out of the drier. Don't let them sit on the couch or bed waiting to be folded or hung up! There isn't as much to fold or hang in a small load, so it doesn't take very long. Train yourself to do this by doing it enough that it becomes a habit!
Train your family members to take their own plates and flatware to the sink after meals, rinse them off, and put them in the dishwasher. Keep the dishwasher empty. It doesn't take long to unload it. (Time yourself some time. If it takes 5 minutes, then when you have an extra 5 minutes to waste, you can do a 5 minute chore like unloading the dishwasher!) I also learned from my mother to wash my pans and any dishes used in preparing the meal as I go along. Then I don't have a huge pile to do after supper!
Second, the old adage is so true "A place for everything and everything in its place." If you don't have a place for everything, you either need to find a place or get rid of something. You won't spend all that wasted time searching for things that you've misplaced if you know where to look for it. Do I follow this perfectly? Of course not, but I'm a LOT better than I was when I was younger. Sometimes you have to make a place for things or buy something to help you organize. Here are a few ideas for storage:
Keep all your bills, tax info, insurance info, etc. in some type of file system. I use a file box and file folders. I sort the mail beside the trash can where all the junk mail goes. Then I pay the bills as I get them, mark them "paid", and file them in their folder. However you choose to deal with it, you will always know where to find those papers.
In my sewing room, I use hardware drawers to store my embroidery floss by color. I have the number and a little swatch taped to the front. This idea was from my friend Freeda (thanks, Freeda, this has been wonderful!).
I also keep other sewing and quilting notions like packets of needles, thimbles, glue sticks, pins, etc. in larger hardware drawers. I've written on the front what each drawer holds.
I have open tubs in my cabinet that I throw small scraps in. I put them in by color. Since I do a lot of applique, I can often use very small scraps. This method takes almost no time at all and keeps these scraps from cluttering up my room.
I posted a photo in my last post of my pantry. One of the best investments I have made for my pantry were commercial quality plastic containers with tight sealing lids. I use these for flour and sugar. When I start to run out of flour or sugar, I can just buy more and add it to the container. I can always see what I have.
Third, I use time saving appliances to my advantage.
I love my coffee pot. It uses K-Cups and will brew one cup at a time. I choose the type of coffee I want (or hot tea or cocoa), pop in a K-cup, put my cup under the spout, and push a button. I have a hot cup of coffee in less than a minute. No more measuring out coffee and water, dealing with coffee grounds, and cleaning out the coffee pot. Its a small thing, but it does save me time and aggravation. (Plus, I don't have to drink the extra bold coffee that my husband likes. I can choose the type I like.)
I also make good use of a crock pot, cooking bags, and a pressure cooker. These make delicious, tender meats that you haven't had to tend to all day. More time for quilting!
You probably have ideas that help you that I haven't mentioned and may not know about. I would love for you to share them in your comments. You might have exactly the solution that some other reader needs. What do you do to stay organized and save time?