Having resolved to swatch this year, I took that a step further, and decided to try to do it on a daily basis. Not obsessively so (because then I would miss a day, like I just did yesterday, and think the whole business was ruined and give up in a little puddle of stymied perfectionism) but mostly every day. It's just more likely to get done that way. What I have done in the past was to wait until I was actually ready to start a given project and the fever of getting on with it was upon me, and then the swatching felt like a huge ordeal standing between me and casting on for my heart's desire. The plan now is to swatch steadily for projects in the vague "what would happen if?" stage and by the time I reach the "nothing else on the needles, must start NOW" stage, the prep work will be done.
The goal of this round of swatching is to explore patterns that will blend two colours (probably a handpaint and a closely related solid) in an intriguing, non-pooling fashion, and transition smoothly to stockinette. (I am not going to use up expensive handpainted yarn on swatching, though.) Jury's out on this particular swatch - it has potential, but not exactly what I had in mind.