Are you a flitter or a sticker?

Marian ParsonsDecorating116 Comments

We each have our own work flow – a way of doing things that makes sense in our own minds and feels most efficient and productive.

As I was packing to move, I discovered something about myself…  Instead of packing one box, taping it up, and adding it to the pile, I was working on several boxes, even in different rooms, hopping from one to another.  Eventually a box would be filled, taped and added to the pile.  It seemed fluid to me, but I’m sure it would’ve looked chaotic.

There was a moment when I really noticed what I was doing and I realized I often work that way.  And I thought the actual words, “I’m a Flitter.”  I just flit from one thing to the next, eventually circling back to finish everything.  I think that may be how I’m able to accomplish as much as I do.  It prevents me from getting bored, which keeps me working at a nice pace, and I can dovetail projects to fill in “dead time”, like when paint is drying.

As I just mentioned, there are advantages to being a flitter, but the disadvantage is that there are often several things in the works simultaneously and it can get overwhelming.

I was talking through my home to-do list with Jeff one day and I realized my “Flitter-esque list” sounded all over the place.  I stopped mid-list, realizing his eyes were glazed over and he wasn’t hearing the method that was a logical progression in my head.

“Basically, I’m just going to work on six rooms all at once.”

He nodded.  “Yep, that’s exactly what it sounds like.”

“I suppose I should probably just focus on one room and finish it and then work on another one.”


“Hm.  But that’s just not the way I work.”

Trying make sense of your workflow to someone else can be like trying to explain to a kid in the streaming generation how to record two TV shows at once on a VCR from the 1990’s.  Or when my boys try to explain Minecraft to me.  It’s pointless to the explainer and the listener and, it can be pretty well assumed, that neither of them really understand it, anyway.

I can’t explain to you why I work this way, why I’m a Flitter, but I just am.  For some reason, it’s easier for me to work on four things at once, bouncing between them, then to focus on one thing.

If you’re reading this and the thought of juggling multiple half-finished projects simultaneously makes you itchy, well, you just might be a “Sticker”.

The Sticker is a person who starts on one thing and needs to finish it before they can start on something else.  That project needs to be finished before another project can be started.  Things are done one at a time.  Stickers are not jugglers.  They are effective, though, because they are laser focused.

I will admit that I have to make myself Stick sometimes.  I want to go Flittering off, but I need to pin myself down and finish the thing that is the higher priority or the closest to being completed.  So, I discipline myself and Stick and then I set myself free again.

So, which are you?  A Flitter or a Sticker?

Are you a flitter or a sticker?

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116 Comments on “Are you a flitter or a sticker?”

  1. I wonder if all of our Flittering allows the Stickers both time and privacy to fully concentrate on one thing at a time? Somebody has to be putting out the small fires, thinking ahead, making our homes cozy, happy and healthy places to be…😉

  2. Marion,

    As a fellow artist and home decor enthusiast, I had to laugh at your perfectly rational column today.

    I, too, am a fellow flitter, more than happy to run back and forth on different projects. We can’t help it, you see, as artistic people are right brained. There are really good books on the subject (Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain – on Amazon) you’d probably enjoy reading….in between painting, sewing, and cooking of course!

    Thanks for the wonderful articles and for sharing your projects with us all.

  3. I am such a flitter. I read seven books at a time. I start putting away silverware from the dishwasher and then start putting food away, dishwasher still waiting, and suddenly I’m in the laundry room folding socks. What? It’s a bit of madness, but it seems fluid to me. That said, I’ve been trying hard to single-task lately, and I’ve noticed it has a pronounced affect on anxiety. I’ll always be a flitter at heart, but I’m committed to developing at least some minimal sticking habits. 🙂

    1. “suddenly I’m in the laundry room folding socks. What?” I don’t usually laugh out loud – literally, but for that one, I did! Thank you for the laugh. I guess it is so funny to me because it reminds me of myself, and I’ve never thought anyone else could have this crazy phonemena!

  4. Just the other day I was thinking why I have so many half finished projects and now I have a name for it. Flittering gives me permission to step back and assess what I’m doing and edit or change things. We like to think outside the box to keep things fresh and new. I’m glad that I discovered you.I love your pictures and ideas.

  5. I’m a flitter and my sister and husband are stickers. I always believe I get nothing done but then my sister comes over and is amazed at what I’ve done. My husband does not see any logic in flittering and over 21 yrs of marriage I’ve adopted his belief to my self esteem detriment. I think I’ll start thinking more about the pros of flittering once again now that I’ve read this. Thanks Marian

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