Do you have more than three quilt projects in the works? Do you have one big project that has stalled? Do you lack motivation to tackle it because it is just so overwhelming???
I think we have all been there unless you are blessed to be an super organized and motived person. I usually have at least three projects going at once. For example, I am still making masks for donations. There is a quilt on my longarm, which needs to be finished. Another quilt is in need of a label. I have been drafting quilt designs for the past week. And I am leading two concurrent quilt alongs (I will definitely space them apart more next time). Both of the quilt alongs have several different blocks, with several repeats.
Everyone will have their own system, but here is mine – Prioritize, Estimate, and Progress (PEP). First, everything needs a deadline. Quilt designs are due to the manufacturers or to the shops by a certain date. The next steps for the quilt alongs must be done each Monday. These are the top priority items. Blogs are posted at least three times per week. I shoot for Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but allow for a little slack. (As you may note it is Thursday!). Therefore, these are the second tier priority. Anything that doesn’t have a hard deadline is a want to do not a have to do, so it gets the lowest priority. I work on things with the highest priority first.
For the top and second tier items, I figure out how long each item will take. This is based upon my past experience. Blog articles tend to take me 30 minutes or so. They can be squeezed into a morning while I eat my breakfast and sip my tea. The articles are generally rolling around in my head for a few days before they fly out of my finger tips. To write a set of instructions takes me about a day. Meanwhile, designing a quilt can take a few minutes or a few hours – so I tend to set aside blocks to “doodle.” Piecing quilts depends upon the complexity of the blocks, so a simple quilt may be completed in a day – like HOPE. Whereas, a more complicated quilt like Justice or Never Forget are broken down into manageable steps – a block a day or a color of block a day. Breaking this complicated projects into smaller chunks also helps my mental state – I can say that I have it X% complete, which bolsters my morale.
Once I have project needs estimated, I put them on my calendar and make sure not to schedule more than I can get done in a day. It also enables me to work with my family members to cover household chores if I get into a bind. I will know in advance, if I will be cutting anything tight. Believe it or not, I also make sure to schedule a day off!
In addition to the calendar, I keep list of projects in a workbook. That list has overall deadlines and progress milestones listed on it. I check them off as I get things done. Another page of the workbook has fabric requirements for each project. Meanwhile, another page keeps track of the fabrics I have in stock. That way I know if I need to order fabric and allow myself enough time for delivery. The workbook has a tab for related blog and vlogs, so I can keep things relevant. As a list person, it helps me focus and feel like I have accomplished something.
The key is break it down, put it on a schedule, and get it done. Breaking it down will make that mountain into a molehill instead of the other way around. Scheduling it gives you personal deadline to motivate yourself. Finally, looking at your accomplishments as well as your needs will keep you from feeling overwhelmed.
This may look complicated but it helps keep all of my quilts moving from design through instructions, supplies, piecing, teaching, quilting, and finishing! If anyone is interested in a template for planning, please let me know.
How do you manage your projects?
Happy Quilting! 🙂