That’s it. That’s all there is to it. I must – and I mean, I must – finish the Secret Garden hummingbirds.
They’re fluttering around in my head, every time I try to move forward on any other project.
It’s the second hummingbird that’s really crying for attention, because it has so few feathers:
In fact, it has more feathers than that – but not many more! The last time we visited the project was way back in mid-January. The little tail section was finished and one wing feather was stitched.
I stitched one tiny fix on it since then. Nothing else. It’s been covered up, waiting.
5 Approaches to the Unfinished Project
Now, the way I see it, I could approach the project one of many ways:
1. Full Marathon. That is, I could only embroider on the hummingbirds, for as many hours a day as possible, at a frenzied pace, for as many days as it takes to get it finished.
There’s certainly a lot to be said for this approach. It gets a project finished, faster. It eliminates all other obligations, as far as embroidery goes. It requires the mind to focus on one goal and push towards it, while shutting everything else (embroidery-wise) out.
The downside: I’ve got some pressing things going on at the moment that I can’t abandon even for just a few days. Besides, this frenzied, focused approach can take a lot of the pleasure away, that should be a part of every embroidery project.
2. Half-Marathon. I could take the half-marathon approach and spend a good amount of time on it each day. Maybe not push through it with a frenzied approach, but just push through it in large chunks of time.
There’s something to say for this approach, too. It would get the project finished, faster than some approaches. But it leaves more time in the day for other goals, other projects.
Unfortunately, it too often slips into Approach #3, because it lacks absolute focus.
3. Always-Present-but-Never-Seen. I could tell myself I’ll work on it when I can, when other projects aren’t as pressing, leaving it up where I can see it, where it’s accessible, and tell myself I’ll “get to it” every day.
This is the approach I’ve been taking. There’s not a whole lot to say for this approach. You can see how far it’s gotten me! In fact, it may be there, but I don’t really see it anymore. I ignore it, because I have other things I’ve been focusing on.
The positive side of this approach is that there’s absolutely no pressure, and I can talk myself out of feeling guilty about not getting to it, because I keep telling myself I’ll get to it – after all, it’s up and waiting.
The negative is obvious: I don’t get to it. I just ignore it.
4. Pack it Up and Forget It. I could take the absolute position that I won’t work on it until I finish more pressing matters, and I could pack it away out of sight.
There’s something to say for this approach. It is, after all, a decision. It alleviates pressure.
But, for me, it also tends to lead to a forever-unfinished-forgotten-in-the-closet embroidery project. That just isn’t an option for the hummingbirds.
So that brings me to option #5:
5. Break It Up and Tackle It. I could break the project up into some very small segments and set small stitching goals for every day, making the project a priority (and a kind of challenge) to meet each day’s small stitching goal, while keeping it manageable within my current schedule.
The positive: it ensures progress every day, albeit a very small bit of progress. It prioritizes the project, but not so much that I can’t get other things done.
The negative: it asserts a certain amount of pressure, because it requires a commitment. But it’s not an undoable commitment.
The latter – #5 – is the approach I’ve decided to take.
The difference in this approach and using embroidery as a “carrot” or reward, is that I’ve now made the daily hummingbird goal part of my work for the day and it’s rotated into my daily To Do list.
My Feather-a-Day Challenge
My goal: a feather a day, Monday through Friday.
One feather. Five days a week.
There are 30 feathers left on the hummingbird. Some are larger. Some are smaller.
No matter what the size of the feather, each day, I will stitch One Feather.
On particularly busy days, I can select a small feather. On days when I know I have more time to juggle with, I’ll take a big feather.
But every day, Monday through Friday, I will stitch One Feather.
I’ll keep you updated. As I progress, I’ll let you know how it’s going – whether I succeed or flop!
Why Not Join Me?
If you have any unfinished project that’s hanging over your head, why not join me in the challenge?
Divide your project into small, daily-doable goals, and let’s work through them together. You might adjust your goals to three days a week or even just one or two days a week – it all depends on your schedule.
But the point is: if you have a project you feel obliged to finish, but you’re just not getting it done, break it down into little segments that are reasonably doable for you, and make a commitment to a particular schedule of accomplishing each segment.
If you want to join me – even in spirit – feel free!
I’ll keep you posted on how I’m going. You can keep me posted on your progress, too.
Any thoughts, suggestions, comments? Feel free to chime in below!