Help! UFOs have Invaded My Life!

So you know where I am coming from, I like the idea of setting goals. I admire those who set them and accomplish them, but I am not naturally a fan. I often see setting goals as just another way to disappoint myself. So I struggle to find the best method for me to set and reach goals. This is a way which feels like a good fit. Let me explain.

I shared in a video ways to deal with UFOs, or UnFinished Objects, as quilters like to call them. Know what? My advice didn’t help me a bit. I thought it would work. That is how everybody says it should work. But it didn’t work for me…

Hey, hey! Ho, ho! These UFOs have got to go!

See, somewhere along the way, these projects changed from being an inspiration, something to spur me to creativity, to being a debt I owed, with the collections agency harassing me every time I darkened the door.

I know I have the project somewhere…

Along the same theme from my post, “Leave Quilts, Not Fabric“, this year (#newyearnewyou, right), I tried something new. I took a page from Dave Ramsey about how to get rid of credit card debt.

Leave quilts, not fabric.

First step – acknowledge the disaster. Get an honest, clear-eyed accounting of all you have. I took every, and I mean EVERY, UFO out of the hiding bins and tubs.

I promise to have the bed cleared off tonight, honey.

Before you go farther – This is a good place to sort out what you don’t love and pass it along to someone who will love it.

Second step – Assess what steps it will take to clean up said disaster. One at a time I named each project and listed all the actions needed to FINISH that project.

Count your blessings, count them one by one…

Step three – Count how much TIME it will take for each action. Above each task, I wrote how many hours I think it will take to complete each step. This gave me a project total.

Before we even start on Step four, I confess I actually felt a sense of hopefulness. Suddenly this looming mountain was divided into smaller, manageable chunks. “Hey”, I thought, “I might actually be able to do this!” Suddenly, like a wanderer lost in a cave, I turned a corner and saw light!

Step four – sum up and divide. I added together all the hours (385hours) and divided it by 52 weeks, which equals 7.4. To finish ALL the UFOs on my list would take, drum roll please… 7.4 hours per week. That’s it? Yep, that’s it. I can totally find 7.4 hours per week!

7.4 hours per week? That’s awesome!

Step five – Pick a starting place. I have five projects which have deadlines. So those are first in line. After I finish those, I will start with the least number of hours first. I will tackle my 4s, 6s and 8s. The more you knock the smaller ones out of the way and the more successes you have, the more encouraged you will be to keep going and tackle the big ones.

Step six – make it pretty. Just for grins, and because I have a new Quilter’s Planner, I transferred the list to the Projects pages. (I kept the original list so I could track the hours for each task.) Then I added colors to show what was already done. Can’t wait to color the rest in!

All pretty in my Quilter’s Planner

I am very encouraged about this plan. We will see how it will go over this year. I anticipate I will need to make some tweaks but that is how I make a plan what works for me!

So what works for you?


Jenny Kae


10 thoughts on “Help! UFOs have Invaded My Life!

  1. I love this idea as well!!! You are brilliant. In my work I create lists and what needs to be done, why not with my quilting. Now, I fill follow your lead and choose to take baby steps and cross off each projects progress. It will be fun to look at year end and see what I accomplished.

    • Haha! I just told my husband you said I was brilliant. He got a chuckle. Baby steps all the way! I am looking forward to the end of the year. We will have to compare notes. 😁

  2. Just looking at your list made me want to set fire to my sewing room. I made a list two years ago (not as detailed as yours) and finished 21 quilts. Since then I do the same simple list of UFO’s that I would like to finish with mixed results. The problem is that I start and finish other quilts that play havoc with my plans. I would rather be sewing than making out lists and color coding. My suggestion is to be cloned or live to be 150. Quilters just want to create quilts not lists. 😃

    • I agree, I would rather quilt than make lists, and do math! I made lists before but never even made a dent! However, my UFO’s had become a huge monster in the back of my mind. Looking at it and slicing it in to tiny pieces gave me hope. Truth be told, it only took about two hours for the sorting and about 30 minutes to write and color code. I used to feel lost. Now I have a way out.

  3. Jenny, that is one impressive approach!! The visual of a list and a chart to really see progress is very inspiring! I can’t wait to see how it goes..keep us updated!

  4. Too list my mess would take a year. I did finish four quilts in Dec. I only have three in the long term making. Scrapes should make us look for ways to make it into another quilt. Small projects have helped me. I sort by colors. ” BH quilt is too busy “., my husband says every year. It still helps me think out side the box. Husband also got me EQ8 I need to stop following others and design my own.

    • It only took me about 4 hours to do the whole process. However, I missed a few which i “discovered” while sorting fabric. They will go on the list for next year! it feels good to finish small projects. And I LOVE EQ8. Can’t wait to see what you come up with.

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