Project fatigue for crafters is a creative killer. It hits everyone from the casual crafter to the working artist. Everyone can use strategies to shake project fatigue and be more satisfied with their crafting whether it’s a pleasure project that you are trying to finish or a commissioned piece. Check out these 5 strategies meant to hone your focus and nurture your creativity.
Know Your Creative Self
Know where your creative power comes from. Is it more important for you creatively to work on several projects in the same time frame? Or, do you work best when you focus on one project at a time from start to finish? Crafters can spend what feels like endless hours on their crafting projects and often go through a creative cycle where their enthusiasm for their project dwindles the longer the project takes to complete. Some crafters beat the project fatigue by working on several different projects at the same time in a systematic rotation designed to exercise their creative muscle with different skills. Others do better by maintaining focus on one project at a time. Make sure to know what works best for you.
Set Realistic Goals
We are all limited by our time and skill. If your realistic goal is to learn a new skill, then make sure you take meaningful steps to acquire that skill. Use the proper equipment and find a mentor that you can refer to for help and guidance while you study your new art form. Malcolm Gladwell’s research claimed in 1993 that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to learn a skill. His research sample was based on musicians and chess players analyzing the correlations between practice and success. His long-standing and popular ideas have been disputed as new learning strategies have been developed. We like to refer to Josh Kaufman’s (author of The Personal MBA) point of view. He says you can get “pretty good” at anything in about 20 hours. Any crafter knows that it takes time and practice to master a skill, but they all start with learning to become “pretty good” at it.
If your realistic goal is time-based, then take the meaningful steps to work more efficiently and quickly. We all only have 24 hours a day but, some people always seem to accomplish more than what seems possible.
- Dedicate set times to work on your project, when the dedicated time ends, then stop. A proven strategy for managing long-term projects is setting dedicated working times. If you work too long on a project at one time, then you become less efficient. When finished, exercise your body, then if you are feeling refreshed set aside another block of time to devote to your project.
- Before you begin your project, take some time to ensure you will use your time wisely. Start by making sure you have all of the supplies you need. Take the time to prepare so you can focus during your dedicated project time: Will the dog need to be let out? Are you planning on listening to music, to a book, or the tv? Would you like a snack, or will you be interrupted by someone else’s snacking? Get yourself prepared to avoid interruptions.
- Have a go-bag to keep your project tidy and portable, you will be surprised how much you can get done when the deadline is looming while waiting in lines during everyday errands or random downtimes.
- Don’t take on more projects than you can finish. It’s easy to over-commit when you love what you do. Add a few days to your timeline when you are making estimations for incidentals, just like when you are estimating supplies for a project. Your time is important, so is your time management. So prepare and that way you won’t have to compromise your project deadline in case an unexpected event comes up.
Take Breaks Often
One of the easiest ways to refresh your mind is to move your body. After you have spent your dedicated time on your project write down your thoughts on your project (use our project planner available in our knit and crochet binder downloadables), then plan to move. There is so much we know about the healing power of crafting, but at the same time, it can be draining. It’s important to also plan refreshing exercise as well to balance the effects of the creative drain.
Dedicate Time for Good Design
It is important for creative people to understand their own creative process. We often skip steps and forget to prepare for a successful design when the desire to create strikes us. Sometimes we forget to nurture our creative inspirations. Prepare to succeed, take the time to research other peoples comments on your planned project or similar projects. The odds are, if you are going to run into a problem with a pattern, that someone may have also had an issue with it. Your designer may have even published pattern corrections. You can find Mary Maxim pattern corrections here on our website for the occasion that they occur. Next, take the time to gauge a swatch, Check out these two articles on gauging (How to Gauge for the Team Spirit Challenge and Check your Gauge) this saves you from a lot of heartaches later if your project doesn’t fit. Don’t forget to take time to nurture your creativity. Designate some time a few times week to be inspired, this could be joining a knitting group, browsing through Mary Maxim’s website/blog, spending some time on Pinterest or Ravelry. It could even mean participating in some self-care like participating in yoga, journaling, or trying a new craft/activity.
Rejoice in a Job Well Done
Rejoice in a job well done, or even just rejoice in a completed piece. Crafters are perfectionists, it often leads to project dissatisfaction or projects never nearing completion. All too often we will be working on a project, find a flaw, then rip it out. When the project is finally completed our satisfaction, we seem to be limited by our ability to see our flaws. At the same time, we tend to dismiss the compliments we receive from others. Make sure to listen to those compliments as much or more than you listen to your own critiques. Also, take some time to document in your project notes about what you liked best about your finished piece before you add what you would do differently for the next time.
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