Today’s post is about a topic I brought up in my last newsletter – having way too many ideas and not knowing how to organize them or be able to work on them all at once. I know this is a really common issue for crafters, I see it all the time in the cross stitch Facebook groups I belong to. One woman counted up the amount of partially started cross stitch projects in her house, and she had well over a hundred (plus almost the same amount of kits just waiting to be started). I am always in awe of people that can do that – I’m good at multitasking but that takes things to a level that would personally make me really bonkers. I like trying to work only on one project at a time, as that way each project is done quicker than if I do many all at once (and once a project is finished it frees me up for the next project).
But recently I’ve noticed I’ve somehow managed to start several projects all at once, which isn’t like me. Maybe it’s because my mind has some “mental space” as I’m just waiting for my furniture to slowly make its way across the continent, I’m not sure. Despite the fact I’d only brought my sewing frame with my big Michelangelo piece on it, some needles, sewing scissors, and my floss needed for the Michelangelo one, I’ve started several other projects as well. I’d heard about one neat weekly project called Take a Stitch Tuesday on Facebook so I decided that would be a good way to learn some embroidery stitches (as I’ve forgotten the few I did know). I bought some extra black floss and some felt from the dollar store and away I went with my first stitch sample. Then I decided I was going to do some blackwork samples (which I’ve talked about in previous blog posts), so I did some of those. Then I realized I needed to design and make a new small handbag, as I was having a hard time finding one suitable for my neck injury (I need short straps for my hand or on the edge my shoulder and it needs to be very small and lightweight). Off I went to get some lovely fabric and start designing that. Oh and of course I still have my Michelangelo cross stitch piece I’m working on, right now I just have a bunch of black left and it will be completed.
I started getting kind of overwhelmed from having too many projects on the go at once, even though I was enjoying this sudden spurt of creativity. I do have to be careful about not spending too much time on any one project as I can get “stuck” in one position and flare up my pain. Also if I have too many projects on the go I feel the need to work on them all simultaneously, which again flares up my pain. I found a good article about what to do if you have too many ideas on the go all at once, so I decided to basically document my progress up until that point and my design ideas so I didn’t lose track of anything I was considering. I also thought it might help me prioritize my projects. I used a neat app on my iPad called Notability to make a “project sheet” for each of my projects, as well as a prioritization page. I included photos of what I’ve done up until now and some design sketches and notes on each page. It didn’t take too long to do (ironically I had to do another project to keep track of all my other projects). I feel like now I can take my time and work on one project at a time without worrying I’ll lose my train of thought or my ideas. Below are the screenshots of my project sheets from inside Notabiity, it’s such a flexible app so I knew it would be perfect for this. I used to use it for taking notes for my masters degree classes (it can record audio notes too and put them into a page), and it’s great for other projects too.
What about you, do you ever feel overwhelmed with too many things on the go (creative projects or otherwise)? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear any tips and tricks you might have for keeping your creative marbles firmly in check. 🙂
I have this problem too, and I only have four projects going, one each in crochet, cross stitch, knitting, and quilting. My problem is trying to decide which one to work on and I become so overwhelmed I end up doing nothing. ????
Hahaha I know eh, I totally feel your pain Julie! One of the things I’ve found that does help me decide what to work on is to think about how much energy each project will take. Some are literally just stitching or knitting rows upon rows of the same thing, so they don’t require too much mental effort. Some projects are more complex or you have to be careful about following your pattern, so those are more “high” energy for me. If I can’t decide what project I want to work on, I think about how much energy I want to expend, and how I’m feeling that day. Then it makes deciding between the various projects a lot easier, and you don’t feel “guilty” because you’re not working on another one. I figure as long as I’m making progress on something, it’s better than doing nothing at all. I try to do this with my daily life too as I am injured and always in pain – I have “high” energy activities for days when I’m feeling not too terrible, and “low” energy ones for days when I can barely stand up. I’m totally a Type A personality so it’s been a hard adjustment for me to let go of having to do everything all at once. I’ve found by designating tasks as high or low energy, I can work on daily tasks according to how I’m feeling, and it helps eliminate any issues I have about leaving harder tasks until I’m feeling better.
I hope that helps! Let me know how you’re going and what tricks you try to help you make progress on all your projects! And sorry it took me a few days to reply, I’ve been away and my internet connection was really spotty at best. 🙂