I have fewer projects than I used to.
That being said, I still have many and many more projects in my Work-In-Progress (WIP) pile. OK, it isn’t really a single pile. It is a virtual pile that sits atop my mental To-Do list. In real life it is a couple of actual piles and many totes and boxes that have been stashed here and there. If I can’t see these unfinished projects with my naked eyeballs then they really don’t exist as Unfinished-Objects (UFO’s), right?
So, last week as I was rushing to finish the alterations on the wedding dress for DIL’s friend and the making of the wedding veil for a friend in South Carolina I looked around and realized that I need to finish a birthday gift before the second week in September too. And these were just the projects with time constraints attached to them!
I decided that I needed a way to keep track of the projects that I have started or even committed to starting. That way, if they get set down or pushed to the side I don’t forget about them. I decided the best way FOR ME to do that is with a notebook. I went online and Google’d something (I don’t remember the exact words) that brought up loads of choices. After looking at soooooo very many different options, I decided on some from Scattered Squirrel. They met my needs and weren’t overly complicated. This makes it more likely that I will continue to use them going forward.
The first form that I printed was the “Project Index”.
When I started looking, this is the form that I imagined that I wanted and needed. This is the only form that I had in my mind. On this form I could list the projects as I start them or as I find them again (from wherever I may have stashed them). I can also add a start date and when I finish them (Oh joyous and beautiful day that will be) I can add an ending date.
But I wanted to track more information on some projects, especially ones that have several steps, take a longer time to complete, and might have several purchases that need to be made on the way to completion.
Enter this “Project Planner” form, also from Scattered Squirrel. On this page I can write the start date, the project name, the steps of the project, list the items purchased for this project and make notes about the project. What kind of notes do you ask? If it is a knitting project, I could list the pattern, size, type of yarn, size of needles, what I thought about each of those choices, etc. At the right size of the top of the form is a line that I LOVE! “Estimated time needed” If I have a deadline on the project, that is what I enter on this line. I would only track one project on each of these forms. But sometimes a “project” might be something super small/fast/simple like a mending. I wouldn’t necessarily want to fill out an individual form for each of those types of projects. I would still list them on the “Index” form, but there is anther form that I want to employee to help me track the smaller projects within the context of all of my projects…
On this form I have a fill-in-the-blank monthly part and a week 1-5 part. I can enter other things that may conflict with being able to work on projects like taking care of grand babies, visiting with friends, knitting night, dates, vacations, teaching motorcycle safety, etc. On the times that I have time to work on projects, I can write in which project I plan to be working on. I can also write in if I worked on a project in my spare time, like on break at work. I also like to make a note of how much time I worked on any given project on any given day. In the weekly area I write the projects that I plan to work on that week or have worked on. At the end of each week I can add up the time that I worked on each project and write it down in the “week” block. I haven’t been good at tracking how much time I devote to my projects, but I have always wanted to and this seems simple enough that I feel I can do so sustainably.
I put all these forms into a binder with tabs:
First tab: Project Index page
Second tab: General Project planning – this is where the calendar looking page is. Behind the calendar page is smaller projects that were big enough to warrant filling out a Project Planner page for the project.
Third tab: Right now, it is for a quilt project. This is a many step project. It has extra pages of additional information that I have added to the notebook for quick reference.
Fourth tab: Completed projects. When I complete a project that has it’s own Project Planning sheet, I will move the sheet to behind this tab. Some day in the future I will be able to look at all the sheets of completed projects and bask in the glory…
Fifth tab: Blank Project planning sheets. All ready and waiting for me to start new projects, or find the old ones that are stashed away.
What do you think?
How do you keep track of all your WIP’s, UFO’s and PHD’s (projects half done)?