This year was a big UFO (Unfinished Objects) year for me. It’s something that I find a lot of quilters struggle with…probably because fabric is so addictive!
In 2019, I went on a UFO attack (read about it here), and I think it was the start of something really really good for me!
How Did It Go?
Did I finish all of my projects? No.
Did I almost completely clear out my UFO basket? Yes.
You see, just because the basket wasn’t completely empty on December 31, I don’t consider my endeavor a failure. 2019 was an insane year. My family went from 1 child to 3…and not just children, but toddlers (more on that another time!). My business exploded (in the best sort of way), and things were just generally more insane than I could have ever guessed. So to me any progress is not failure!
How Did I Do It?
There was one great tool I used and one great method that I used.
I announced my ruthless UFO-blasting method in January last year for two reasons. One: to inspire you guys to do the same. Two: to force myself to stick to it! So, the first thing you need to do is:
Make a Plan
then, so that you’re forced to stick to it:
Tell Somebody your Plan
My plan was ruthless, really! I chose to lay all of my UFOs out on the floor (a horrifying experience, by the way) and donate any that I didn’t want to finish. I gave myself a guilt-free pass for the day. And honestly, one year later, I don’t even remember which ones I chose to let go…and it feels GREAT! It gave me a lot of freedom to stop feeling guilty about what I didn’t finish and focus on the excitement about what I was going to finish.
Then, I organized the remaining UFOs neatly (see how I do it here!) and assigned each project an expiration date.
Yes. I. Did.
Initially I thought that this would keep me on pace, which it certainly did. I met the deadlines I needed to (like for my brother’s Christmas gift!), but it also showed me which projects I was motivated to finish and which ones I wasn’t. And having those expiration dates really gave me permission to let the project go. Why let it hang over my head if I won’t even enjoy creating it?!
The Best Tool for finishing UFOs
In addition to my expiration dates and organization, I also used my handy dandy Quilter’s Planner to map out everything I planned to accomplish last year. Honestly, the list and the visuals of checkboxes were INCREDIBLE motivators for me! It was so nice to see exactly where I was with each project and where I hoped to be.
My biggest tip is this:
If you don’t love finishing it, and if there’s no reason you have to finish it, then don’t! Move onto the next thing instead of staying stuck on the same thing.
If there’s something that you find motivates you, then give it a try! Who cares if it’s silly?! I found that putting my empty spools in a jar gave me a shock of excitement and made me want to keep sewing through these UFOs!
I started this silly yearly tradition to see how many miles of thread I use in a year, but found it to be a powerful motivator to keep going.
Let’s Wrap this Up
Overall, I found that my UFO theory worked quite well and I was really happy with my progress in 2019. My next step is to take a look back at what I didn’t finish and decide whether it’s really something I need to let go of or if it should make the top of the list again this year…I’m thinking I know that the answer is to let go, but that’s for another post!