A new angle on getting projects done and why I'm not doing so well with that

I just read an article on Oprah.com about what you could do if you weren't standing in your own way, basically. Martha Beck wrote it, and I keep saying I'm going to read or listen to one of her books--just haven't figured out which one I should start with yet, so suggestions are welcome if you've read any of hers. (Sadly, I might have one, or have had one, but I can't remember...) But that thought reminded me of my project from this weekend, so I thought I'd share.

As I've mentioned before, when I cleaned out the sewing room to put in the quilting machine, I created a pile of projects that I decided either got finished by Dec. 31, 2009 or left the house as supplies soon after. So the other day I realized I had a baby gift project that hadn't been given to said baby yet. I pulled it out, thinking that between the cake I needed to bake for the Father's day get-together at Mom and Dad's, and decorating that cake with my nephews, and going to Six Flags Great America on Sunday with my sister, her boys, and Rich, and dropping things off at my cousin's house, I might be able to complete this project and leave it with my Mom would surely wouldn't mind dropping it off to the baby in question for me. And as for my thoughts on how much time it would take, well, it was just a tied fleece blanket--how long could it take?

So after I didn't get it done Friday night or Saturday morning or Saturday afternoon, I pulled it out at 9:30pm (yes, 9:30pm, the PERFECT time to start a project, right?) at Mom's and got to work. My sweet, wonderful, and generous mother offered to help me with the tying once I got the fringe cut. My sister Alice offered to watch and cheer us on until she was too tired to keep her eyes open. So I cut the fringe and Mom and I sat at the kitchen table and got it tied. Getting that project finished took about 90 minutes on Saturday night. Yes, we were up until 11pm. But we talked and laughed and spent some time together, just us girls (or until Alice went to sleep, then it was Mom and I talking and laughing REALLY QUIETLY).

And why did Martha Beck's story on Oprah.com make me think of this project? Well, I think that that stack of boxes, bags, etc., has been daunting to me. So instead of spending some time working on a project in my spare time watching tv, I've been unsure of what to tackle, as few of these projects has a true deadline or a target date, aside from the 12/31/09 date that looms ahead. But now that I've finished the blanket, the relief of completing one project from my list and elimating one large bag from the stack of bags, boxes, and storage containers is really unmeasureable. And knowing that one new little farmer boy will have this blanket to roll around and nap on and curl up under when it's chilly and that my loving momma helped me work on it... well, that part is priceless. Now, it's on to the next project, whichever it may be. Maybe it's a good idea to get some of the quick ones done first, so that I can see real progress in the number of containers of supplies dropping and the number of containers of finished projects increasing or, in some cases, see those finished projects get delivered to their destination. What do you think: start on something that might not be completed for a week or more or knock out some done-in-a-night projects?


Anonymous said...

Get some of those "done in a night" projects off your list! That was a trick I try to share with my co-workers. You've got X, Y, and Z to get done but the thought of it is just daunting. Pick the easiest, get it done and you'll feel a sense of accomplishment and the rest of the load will seem so much lighter.

The L across the freeway...

Anonymous said...

I agree. Do a couple quick projects, then start to tackle a bigger one. This post was very interesting, as this is how I've been feeling about some things I have to get done relating to cleaning, sorting and storing items so that Tom and I can make the condo "ours." It's daunting, and not fun. I get to it for a night, then take a few nights off. Now, you have motivated me to try to sort the projects, then select something that I can find gives me a sense of accomplishment, which will motivate me to continue! Thank you! - Donna

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Linda Augsburg said...

Lynn and Donna, thanks for the encouragement. I was thinking that getting some of the containers empty would be the way to go. And some of them will be pretty quick to empty--wreath-making supplies take up a lot of space, for instance. I'll get on it---maybe I'll use my July 3 holiday to make a dent in it.

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