I am so excited to be sharing with you this guest post from Dr. Christine Li, clinical psychologist and Procrastination Coach. Dr. Li is letting us in on some of her best tips for beating procrastination in crafting which sometimes manifests itself as UFO's (unfinished objects)- Read on for her tips on what I'm calling pro-craft-ination!
Hello, fellow crafters! I am Dr. Christine Li, a clinical psychologist, and Procrastination Coach. I am thrilled to be writing to you today about something that is near and dear to all of our hearts: conserving our energy and time in order to maximize our space and time to enjoy our work, crafts and hobbies, and our lives.
As crafters, we all know how important it is to be efficient with our time and energy so we can create more and enjoy more. Today, I would like to share with you some tips on how to do just that.
The first tip is to think Beginning—Middle—End. Each project or effort is actually a process of beginning, middle, and end. It is essential to be mindful of how we are managing our energy in each phase of any activity we are doing. When we leave projects in the middle, we end up causing double the work and tie up our energy, thereby reducing the available energy we have moving forward. It's easy to get sidetracked by a new project or get discouraged by the middle phase, but remember that persistence is key. Train yourself to have the persistence to complete every project you start, no matter how big or small, and no matter how you feel about the project.
Here are some steps you can follow to break any creative project into beginning, middle, and end:
DEFINE THE GOAL
First, you need to define the end goal of your project. What is it that you want to create? This will be your end point or "end" of your project.
1. Break down the project
Next, you need to break down your project into smaller parts. Think about what needs to be done to achieve your end goal. For example, if you're making a quilt, you might need to cut and sew fabric, assemble the quilt top, add batting and backing, quilt the layers together, and add binding. These smaller tasks will be the "middle" of your project.
2. Determine the beginning
Now that you have a clear idea of the smaller tasks, you need to determine where to start. Which task needs to be done first? This will be the "beginning" of your project.
3. Order your tasks
Once you have your beginning, middle, and end, you can order your tasks. List them in the order they need to be completed to achieve your end goal.
4. Schedule and track progress
Finally, you should schedule your tasks and track your progress. This will help you stay on track and ensure that you're making progress toward your goal. Remember to hold a joyful attitude about your crafting work throughout the beginning, middle, and end of your creative process.
The second tip is to PRIORITISE CLARITY. When we don't know what our goals are, or when we don't define them well or clearly, we leave room for distraction, frustration, confusion, and delay. Keep your goals doable, likable, and small, and build on your skills as you learn to trust yourself to finish everything that you start. It's important to have clear goals so you can focus your energy on the right things and avoid getting bogged down in unimportant details or procrastination.
My favourite suggestion for prioritising clarity is making sure that you are evaluating what is important to pay attention to and what may be competing for your attention. One of the factors that can be the most distracting for our attention is the stories that we tell ourselves. For instance, you may have the goal of completing one small sewing project per week. Though you may have the time to complete that goal, your inner voice may be telling you that other projects are “more important” or that “you never finish anything that you start.” Those stories will distract you until you decide that anytime you set a goal it is as if it were set in stone — you are clear about what you intend to do and you know that no inner story that might come up will derail you from achieving your goal.
The third tip is to always keep your eye on your chosen goal. If you're feeling frustrated with your level or rate of productivity, take it easy on yourself and know the good news is there is a lot of room for you to make improvements in all areas of productivity. The first step is eliminating any negative thoughts, language, or comments you might be saying over and over again to yourself. Lighten up, get specific and purposeful, and start enjoying seeing yourself go through the beginning, middle, and end of everything you get involved in. See yourself as the consistent person you really have the power to be.
Get in the habit of regularly reminding yourself of your goal and visualizing the outcome. By doing so, you can maintain your determination and overcome obstacles that may arise along the way. You can do this by marking upcoming dates on your calendar or by letting your friend know that the next time you will be meeting for lunch you will be bringing your finished crafting project too. Avoid letting your crafting projects get pushed to the side — after all…they are a big source of our pleasure and happiness!
Remember, every project or effort is actually a process of beginning, middle, and end. Be mindful of how you are managing your energy in each phase of any activity you are doing. Keep your goals doable, likeable, and small, and build on your skills as you learn to trust yourself to finish everything that you start. And, always keep your eye on the goal.
By implementing these tips, you will be able to finish what you start, stay focused on your goals, and enjoy the satisfaction of completing your projects. I can't wait to hear about all the new wins you will be able to get once you implement these ideas in your day!
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. Please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below. Let's support each other as we work towards our crafting goals!
Thanks so much to Dr. Christine Li for sharing your insights with us! To learn more about Dr. Li, you can catch her Make Time for Success Podcast, or find her on Facebook or Instagram and her website.