I've always liked making lists and setting goals. "Control" is of course an ethereal reality, but if you have a list, and you have some goals, you can at least attempt to move forward with the little things you want to do in life.
Before we started the store, I was always a one-project person: I would choose a really, really difficult pattern to make, spend about 6 months making it, and then choose the next really, really difficult pattern.
Now that we have a store, however, that doesn't work. I need to do projects for classes and inspiration. And of course, I get inspired myself, being around all those beautiful things. The ideas are a constant stream!
But sometimes it gets just a little out of hand. I don't know what to work on, when to work on it, or what's important.
The other day I looked in my closet and saw that I had over 30 projects going. Okay. That's when it's time to get some control back. When this has happened before, I've tried limiting myself to 3 projects at a time to get myself more focused--but even though that helped, it didn't always work. The long-term projects needed to be broken out differently.
I joked to Kevin that I needed a PERT chart to organize it. (Can you tell I used to work in an engineering firm?)
And then I realized that maybe this was no joke. Some kind of chart to organize it all would be great. I could figure out how much time I thought each project would take, and then I would schedule it in. Some projects--the long-term ones--needed to be broken into small pieces so that I wouldn't neglect other projects.
I spent about 5 very-worthwhile hours pulling all the projects out, deciding what mattered most, and figuring out what I really, really wanted to have done by the end of the summer. I charted it out:
I was tempted to put it on the computer to make it tidier, but I had already spent enough time on it. It did not need to be pretty. This is a practical document.
Down the left side, I listed each project that I wanted to finish this summer. Across the top, I broke out the weeks. Then I split the projects, if needed, into subgoals. (I do have another page of projects that goes into August, in case you were wondering.) I decided to stop at the end of August. At that point, I'll regroup for fall, depending on how far I got.
Then I plunged in and started actually knitting.
It is working beautifully. This week, my goals included doing 4 rounds on Kevin's sweater. Check. (I am going to keep doing 4 rounds a week until his sweater is finished.) I wanted to do blocks 8 and 9 of the mini-shawl. Block 8 is done as of tonight; block 9 is a piece of cake. I wanted to do most of a block on a log-cabin blanket I'm designing, then finish it next week. Check for this week. I want to finish my thrummed mittens to the point where I am past the thumb. That is for tomorrow morning. And I have a simple sweater I'm working on, made on large needles; it is low-hanging fruit. The goal there is to have the pieces knitted this week, and sewn next week. I'm on my way with that: two quick sleeves to go. I think it's doable.
In between, I'm free-motion quilting. I am doing that just a little bit at a time as well. Fortunately, I have only about 10 quilting or sewing projects--so I figure they don't require a chart. I'll just work on them as I can, but not be afraid to tackle them in 15-30 minute increments. Updates, reports, and pictures soon.
What would you like to get done? How could a chart like this work for you?
(How about getting ready for Christmas now instead of waiting until the November Panic?)