Pacing Yourself on a Long Term Project

This post is part of a series:  the Big Bed Quilt-Along.  We're sewing along February - April 2018, but you can use the resources anytime to help you make a large quilt.  Use hashtag #BigBedQAL to share your progress!


On any big, long term project perspective is everything.  When the distance between start and finish is so long, it's only natural to become discouraged, bored or overwhelmed.  You absolutely must pace yourself. 

When I was little my Dad would say, "The only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time."  Embrace the little bites.  Learn to celebrate them.  That's how you'll maintain hope and momentum for reaching your goal.

So, let's do it.  Let's pace ourselves!  Take the time to set yourself up for success.

 Photo by  Harshil Gudka

Photo by Harshil Gudka

Mark The Time

Our quilt-along is scheduled for February through April.  That's three months, with 4 weeks in each month.  You have 12 weeks in total to reach your goal.  That's a lot of time.  You can do this!  Think how good you'll feel in May when you've accomplished so much.

Consider Your Goal

Remember our Goal Setting post?  What goal(s) did you set?  Face down the elephant. 

In my notebook, where I sketched my bed measurements and quilt size plans, I detailed my goal.  In order to reach my ideal quilt size, I need to make 12 more blocks and attach a 5" wide border.  Plus, I'll be buying a wide backing so it's ready to be longarm quilted.

Set Monthly Goal Posts

How will you get from here to there?  Make a goal for each month of our quilt-along.  Divide your long term project into three smaller segments.  Keep in mind other obligations you have in February, March or April.  Schedule the hardest segment for the month in which you should have most time. 

But, be careful here!  Resist the temptation to believe that you'll magically have more time later.  Realism is your friend.  Motivation cannot thrive outside of reality.

 Photo by  Eric Rothermel

My Goal Posts:

  • February:  4 Facing East Blocks + Order Border/Backing Fabric
  • March:  5 Facing East Blocks 
  • April:  3 Facing East Blocks + Assemble with Borders

Near the last day of each month, we'll have a forum for acknowledging those who meet their monthly goals.  These check-in points will keep you on target and give you a sense of achievement that's within closer reach.  And, I do think there will be prizes!  I'm working on that. 

Our first Progress Check + Celebration is scheduled for Wednesday, February 28th. 

Pace Yourself

Now that you've set a goal for this month, make a plan for how you'll reach it.  Think about how this could fit into your busy life.  I like to strategize the particulars so that I don't procrastinate or stress. 

Is there one evening per week you could give up to sewing?  What time will you start sewing?  Maybe talk over this plan with the people in your life, so that they know what you are trying to accomplish and can support you in taking that time.

My Pace

I'm to sew 4 blocks over 4 weeks this February, so I commit to one block per week.  Since I already have a jam-packed work week, this is going to have to happen on Saturday.  I'll start each Saturday with making one block.  It's the kind of mindless sewing I can do with my family around and Brandon may be longarm quilting in the sewing room anyways.  I hope to complete it Saturday morning, but if that doesn't happen, there will still be a chance to finish it Saturday night or Sunday before the next week hits.  

Embrace the Bites

Each little bit matters.  All these bites, all these blocks, all these strategized moments or hours will add up into something literally big and beautiful.  So, celebrate each bite.  Consider each step in the right direction as a  personal victory.