In a nice case of multitasking I finally got round to organising my craft space.
In order to be able to do an inventory of what projects I have in progress (aka WIPs) and what projects I would like to get to or am excited about starting or having invested money in and completely forgotten about, I had to pull everything out and look at it.
GTD requires you to figure out the next action for every project you have on your radar. Without a next action you can’t actually progress something. And most of the time, when you don’t have a next action, it’s because you need to do some thinking around it, or some emotional development in relation to it. If you don’t have a next action and you aren’t planning on figuring out one, that project should not really be on your current projects list – you aren’t working on it, and you’re overloading your lists by having it there.
Getting reinvigorated with my GTD systems from the ground up, I decided to start with my craft projects (at some point I’ll move onto scarier things like thesis, and publishing). I started a new section in Omnifocus that is my current working space (at some point I’ll deal with all the other abandoned bits in that program) and I took inventory of everything in my craft life. I pulled out everything in my craft room, I fossicked for all the other stashed WIPs all round the house. Everything was accounted for and logged. And everything got a next action. If I didn’t want a next action for the project, I queried if I was really wanting to finish it. Sometimes the next action was – toss out, frog or unpick, – and those ones I did on the spot. A bunch of knitting projects that were stalled cause I hated how they were going got unpicked, the yarn restashed. Every other project got it’s own project bag and prepped to be grabbed to be worked on next.
And then I prioritised all my WIPs into what I will currently work on, what I will work on next (in an On Hold folder) and then Someday Maybe has projects I would like to start or would like to do. And the idea is, things On Hold get to be brought into WIPs one at a time as I finish one of the current active projects. Some of the current projects just needed buttons sewn on or ends finished up. Those went to the top of the pile and I already have some finished objects to blog about later. Here’s a screenshot of what the projects look like in Omnifocus:
A couple of shots of what some of these folders break down into:
Everything is dated 2014 for when it entered the system. New things that come in will get dated 2015 so that I can assess progress at the end of the year, assuming their is a constant number of projects but some turnover.
I really really enjoyed the process of GTDing the WIPs (ooh look at all those fancy abbreviations!). It helped me to see that putting something in On Hold is about being honest with myself about what I can realistically work on at the same time and what is splintering my attention too much. And that putting something On Hold til I have space is not forgetting about it, or not being committed to it, it’s time management. And I get to be excited about having space/time freed up by finishing something to grab a project from On Hold to work on. That excitement turns into a positive energy injection into finishing things that have become boring or tedious. I’m hoping this will help me when I face my scary study and work projects and next actions.
For my sewing projects, I located a bunch that just require me to buy batting so that I can baste and quilt the quilts. And a few that haven’t worked that I need to admit and just unpick. I also found that a few project kits I’d bought and put away as being too complicated for my skill level are now not so. I queued up a few and did things like cut templates and cut out all the pieces and pinned ready for sewing etc. And I located supplies that needed to be bought before I could proceed. And then I reorganised all my fun fat quarters and other fabric stash and put away all the rest of my supplies into a space that has already been proven to be much more fun to approach and work out of. It replaces a space that always required sorting through mess to find things, so progress was put off when locating the next supply was needed. The space was stressful because approaching it always called out it needed to be tidied or decisions made on abandoned things. I now have a craft cupboard that looks like this:
On the top shelf, my most prized part of my fabric stash. I stood and ironed all my fat quarters, and other pieces, and then made mini bolts to wrap them (see tutorial here). So much nicer to look at and also to take out and then put back on the shelf. The second shelf has quilt WIPs. Those on the left are finished tops with their paired backing just waiting for batting etc. (Underneath them is another Jinny Beyer kit project waiting to be started.) The middle has current piecing quilt WIPs. And the jars are my sorted scraps.
More jars of my scraps sorted by colour. Ages ago I bought some books on scrap projects and sorted all my piles (bags) of random scraps from other projects in preparation for some scrap quilts I want to make (like Sunday Morning Quilts). I’ve since realised these scraps are likely best for string scrap quilts and the fabric that is the rest of my stash (which is elsewhere to this cupboard) might actually be considered scrap. Knitting supplies to the right on that shelf. And below more quilt WIPs, jars of scrap fabric, and supplies in the boxes.
Not shown is the bottom shelf which has a basket with a whole bunch of knitting WIPs in bags ready to go.
This means that now my craft space is a place I can work out of rather than avoid. C is always annoyed because I leave craft all over the place and it’s usually because I’ve got nowhere to base myself for crafting. I also leave everything out in order, as I was working on it, to be able to pick it up and work on it again later. That is turning out to be a fallacy. I’ve discovered that packing away my current project at the end of the day doesn’t mean I will forget I was working on it the next day. It does though mean that my living spaces are clear and uplifting, and that all the things I need are always back where I expect them when I go looking for them. And if the “away” place is organised, I can actually work out of that organised storage space rather than co opt another one. So I can put the next stage of say a quilting project (the next pieces after the ones I am piecing) away and then go and get them when I’m up to them. It’s life changing! So much so that this one small act has flowed over for me to the rest of my life where I’m trying to put things back where they belong as soon as I’m done with them. Turns out maintenance is much easier than tidying up from first principles. (Honestly, I used to be a very neat and organised person. I think you never notice the habits of that kind of a life til you end up in the other extreme and have no idea how to get back.)
Today’s drink: La Pastora, Natural Catuai by Five Senses
Today’s total word count: 1596
Year Total running word tally from (Nov 24): 17 594
Progress on: More end of the year relaxing and knitting. Writing.