The Done Manifesto and Deadlines

deadline clockBre Pettis and collaborator Kio Stark wrote down everything they knew about bringing “a creative vision to life. They called it The Done Manifesto:

  1. There are three states of being. Not knowing, action and completion.
  2. Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done.
  3. There is no editing stage.
  4. Pretending you know what you’re doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you’re doing even if you don’t and do it.
  5. Banish procrastination. If you wait more than a week to get an idea done, abandon it.
  6. The point of being done is not to finish but to get other things done.
  7. Once you’re done you can throw it away.
  8. Laugh at perfection. It’s boring and keeps you from being done.
  9. People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you right.
  10. Failure counts as done. So do mistakes.
  11. Destruction is a variant of done.
  12. If you have an idea and publish it on the internet, that counts as a ghost of done.
  13. Done is the engine of more.

 from Infographic of the Day 

I’ve written about this before, but I am focusing on a different element this time, procrastination (#5) and its impact on deadlines.  I was re-reading an old blog today, and found this assessment of how prepared the students were to critique each other’s essay rough drafts.  The stats from class in December 2013:

  • Twenty students were still on the rolls.
  • Three have stopped coming to class.
  • Five didn’t have the requisite three-page minimum on their essay page count, so couldn’t participate.
  • Twelve students spent the rest of the hour, trading papers, evaluating.

In other words, just a little over half met the deadline successfully.  Now translate that experience to quilting and participation in bees and collaborative sewing groups.  I’ve been in several quilting groups and the deadlines — or lack of them — sent me to trying to understand the whole concept.

Carl Honoré, in writing for the New York Times, mentions that “Long ago, honoring a deadline was genuinely a matter of life and death. Most scholars agree that the word was coined to describe the boundary past which inmates were forbidden to venture in Civil War prison camps. Guards fired on those who stepped over the so-called dead line.”  He quotes Douglas Adams, the author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”  Apparently Adams had to be locked in a hotel room to finish his book.

DeadlinesIllustrated

I’m more of the “see-the-deadline, make-a-plan” sort of person, but perhaps I wasn’t always this way.  When your child is throwing up all night (sometimes on you), or your car breaks down on the side of the freeway, or you just plain-don’t-feel-like-it, it’s hard to force yourself to get on task and get the work done.

Honoré goes on to say that “The truth is that deadlines are useful. They signal that something is important enough to deserve our immediate attention; they can also focus minds and spur us to action. But too much deadlining can backfire.  Setting do-or-die deadlines and then routinely missing them is like crying wolf: People lose interest and the deadlines lose their bite. What’s more, study after study has shown that too much time pressure, whether in the office, the college dorm or the global summit meeting, makes us less creative and more sloppy.”

Yet, as an older student who returned to school again and again, I learned that even though the child may be sick, the teacher still expected the paper in on time, slashing my grade if I was late.  I began to try and do things ahead of time, knowing that the night I left the art assignment to the last minute, there would be some family crisis which obliterated those 3 hours I’d set apart to work on things, and the assignment had to be turned in whether or not it was creative. . . or sloppy.  Once I became a teacher, my students would come to me with their tales of woe about missed deadlines, but it more than not turned out to be a time management problem, not deadline problem.

I can give you a billion quotes about creativity and getting the work done (I collected them for years) yet the bottom line remains that to get the writing done, you have to get the apply the seat of your pants to a chair.  To get the quilting done, the same idea applies. No matter how you cut it, we all have to Get the Work Done, so why not do it on time?  When others honor their deadlines to get things to me, I know the project was important enough to move it forward in their busy life.

Like everyone else I still miss deadlines, but it has to be a pretty big obstacle for it to get in my way at this point in my life, and I feel badly when I do miss them as it gums up the works over here.  Just maybe, I have though experience discovered that the last idea on the Done Manifesto is the most delicious antidote to missing deadlines that ever existed: “Done is the engine of more.”

Thanksgiving 2015

Mutts Opportunities

Today, on America’s Thanksgiving holiday, I am grateful for opportunities that come my way.  To be sure, they are often disguised as *bonk!* on the head, occasionally causing some consternation. I am also grateful for hot and cold running water, a snug house and a garden where lettuce is growing, reminding me again of the harvest, but in a green way, not a gold-and-amber way.  I open my spice cupboard and I am richer than the ancient kings of Egypt, with spices all arrayed in their glorious pungency and flavor.  I have clothes in my closet–a variety, to be sure.  I am grateful also for comfortable shoes, socks with no holes in them, and enough fabric to last me for quite a few whiles. . . and then some more.

I am grateful for family, for my six brothers and sisters, and for parents who instilled in me a sense of excellence, of purpose, a love of education and reading and doing the right thing.  They also gifted me a love of the arts, of the decorative, of the intrinsic qualities of nature’s beauties.  I am grateful for my husband–can’t say enough about him–and our four children and their families.

I am grateful to be a writer, a quilter, a maker, and to have found quilty friends in this lovely online community.  I am grateful that you reach out to me, too, with glimpses into your lives and how things run for you.  I am richer for it.

TurkeyESE2002

(An Earlier Feast)

Thanksgiving Cartoon MuttsHappy Thanksgiving!

Back to My Average Life After 10 Days on the Road

Road2CA acceptance2016

Road?  Did someone say Road?  I found this in my mailbox this morning, and after jumping around my room and being a goofball for a while, the happiness over this news of my acceptance into Road to California 2016 has settled into a happy smile on my face.  Not to mention the realization that lightning has struck me, twice, with this acceptance–both last year and this year.

Vegas Night

My husband and I left for Las Vegas last week for a scientific conference of his, but we decided to stay a couple of night on the famed Vegas Strip.  I liked the Bellagio Fountains, and certainly you can enjoy the wild and crazy neon/light/building attractions, but generally, overall, I’ll probably never go back.  But it was good to do it once, I guess.

Vegas Art

This is what I did like (from left to right): 1) a James Turrell installation in the back of the Aria, near the elevators (see below), Claes Oldenberg’s famous sculpture Typewriter Eraser, and the Dale Chihuly installation in the ceiling of the Bellagio of blown glass flowers.
Turrell installment

Here’s a long view of the Turrell.  The white tube casts different colors (which you can see above), filling the room with light.  I love Turrell’s installations, given that I am completely enamored of color in quilting, too.
Barbara and Children 2105

Our daughter and her three children joined us on our last day, and yes, we ate lunch at Shake Shack (we stayed in the New York, New York hotel, and I thought posing them in front of the fake Brooklyn Bridge was appropriate).SLC Temple

Then I flew up to Salt Lake City, where I saw one of my favorite buildings, and we celebrated my father’s 90th birthday, shown below with my brother Scott.  Dad's Birthday

But I couldn’t leave Utah without hitting at least two shops: Elaine’s Quilt Block (a favorite) and a new one to me: Pine Needles, which I fell in love with.  I’ll be back!Quilt Shops

Wrong Rosette #5And now I need to buckle down with the quilting, the figuring out where to put the stuff I bought from the quilt shops, to remake the center of my latest hexie Rosette #5, because even though I probably got the memo that the pieces were too big and I should figure out the right ones. . . I didn’t.  So now it’s un-sew and re-cut and re-sew. But why do anything average?1Bently Enemy of Average

Quilty Procrastination

I feel the crisp air now of California, now that it’s finally mid-November (apparently the effect of climate change) and coming soon is Turkey Day.  (For a turkey prep that will change your life, see *here.*  We did it last year and I’ll never do anything else now.)  And then, you know, The Big One, and I’m not referring to earthquakes in California.  Yes. . . Christmas.  My friend has already sewn multiples of her gift for family and friends, and I’m just now kind of thinking about it.  I am already behind.

Happy-New-Year-2016-Wallpaper

So I’m skipping all that, and going right to the New Year and its projects.   Because it’s never too late to focus on something in the future, where I’m going to live, than to spend time moaning over the fact that I have nothing sewn for Christmas, which will soon be in the past.  All this is because I seem to be an expert at procrastinating.  According to Timothy Pychyl, interviewed on *this site,* I have demonstrated several of the key unproductive responses to a dreaded task (from *his book*)[my comments are in brackets]:

  1. Distracting yourself, and thinking about other things
  2. Forgetting what you have to do, either actively or passively (usually for unimportant tasks)
  3. Downplaying the importance of what you have to do
  4. Giving yourself affirmations, focusing on other your values and qualities that will solidify your sense of self [even though you aren’t getting your work done!]
  5. Denying responsibility in order to distance yourself from what you have to do
  6. Seeking out new information that supports your procrastination (e.g. when you tell yourself you need to have more information before you get started on something)[a classic grad school trick]

So, in order to model for you number 1, 3, and 5 nearly all of them, I hereby give you:

2016 Projects

Projects for the New Year (or earlier, if I want):

  • Unpin Shine: The Circles Quilt after I spend close to 3 hours pinning it, take it apart and layer on another layer of wool batting, and then re-pin it in order to quilt it, or merely obsesses about quilting it, as the case may be.
  • Start the Spelling Bee.  I’m still trying to think of a theme or a pithy phrase to have my beemates make for me.
  • Continuing Chuck Nohara block creation.  There is no date by which these have to be finished, so it’s pure sewing enjoyment.
  • I’m the Queen Bee for Mid-Century Modern Bee in January and I already have my idea (I’m not telling).  We’ve had some changes, and have 2 openings for quilters who have their own blog –or– a body of work on Instagram/Flickr.  You also have to be over 50 (the Mid-Century thing), be vetted by our committee, have a modern tilt to your sewing, are a capable sewist, and love to be on time with your bee projects.  Leave a comment if you are interested.
  • Four-in-Art has a new yearly theme (Color) and Simone has announced our first quarterly challenge: Microscopic.  I’m totally jazzed.  We also have a couple of openings, and the same criteria apply — except for the age thing.  We’d also like if you would be willing to be creative and try new approaches to quilting. We make our quilts and post them on our blogs/Flickr accounts (we do not send them anywhere, so perfect for international participation).  Up to this point, they’ve all been in the 12″ square format, but we are now leaving the size open to the artist.  Leave a comment if you are interested. The guidelines we came up with are:

1. Members should have a desire to expand their creativity.
2. Have a body of work on line that members can review via blog, Flickr or Instagram.
3. Make a year commitment to the group, and do their best to make deadlines- unless some crazy life occurrence happens.
4. Be willing to review other Four-in-Art work and leave a comment within the first week of publishing.

  • Write my pattern for Spectrum, a mini quilt, and get that up on Craftsy/PayHip.
  • My time with the Traveling Threads Bee is almost finished.  Just waiting on one more package from the quilter ahead of me, and then I’ve completed all the blocks for my beemates.  My blocks have also been returned to me (all the Alison Glass fabrics in the corner up there) and I’d like to dive into that.
  • Plan out the Halloween Quilt my friend Leisa and I are doing:

HalloweeenQuilt 1008dollars

UPDATE:  IT’S BEEN FOUND!!
Apparently all my readers are more clever than I (but I knew that already) and have located the pattern for me.  Thanks very much to Leslie in Rome, and everyone else.  You are the best!

It’s called “Hallowe’en 1904,” and is from Blackbird Designs.  Common Threads in Wisconsin seems to have it back in stock, which is great news!

See how easy that was?  And how I didn’t think about Getting Ready for Christmas once?

But according to Pychyl, one of biggest recommendations to avoid procrastination is simply to get started. “Once we start a task, it is rarely as bad as we think. . . .When you find yourself thinking things like ‘I’ll feel more like doing this tomorrow,’ ‘I work better under pressure,’ ‘There’s lots of time left,’ I can do this in a few hours tonight’, let that be a flag or signal or stimulus to indicate that you are about to needlessly delay the task, and let it also be the stimulus to just get started.”

Happy mid-November, y’all.  Let’s get started.

 

Chuck Nohara Quilt Blocks

ChuckNoharaBook

I have a new girlfriend and her name is Chuck Nohara.  Like all of my girlfriends, she is charming, sweet with a bite of spice, witty and oh! so clever.  This is her book, purchased from QuiltMania.  She’s also worth her weight in euros — er, dollars — so get ready for that part, too.  If you live near a quilt show that’s coming up, sometimes QuiltMania comes to quilt shows and you can escape the horrific international shipping costs.  I admit only to the fact that I was in recovery from surgery when I was shopping and perhaps the drug-induced haze had something to do with it, but now I’m having fun.
ChuckNohara4

I was suckered drawn into this by the adorably cute photos of her work on the #chucknoharaqal on Instagram, and as soon as I saw some of these blocks, I was hooked.ChuckNohara3

The hashtag sashing is also very cute.  I may or may not do this.  Depends on my current state of mind.ChuckNohara2

You can make over thousands of these blocks, hence the title “2001,” which does not refer to the year, but instead to the number of block drawings inside.  There have been other Chuck Nohara books, and they are scarcer than hen’s teeth.  QuiltMania republished her work (text is both in French and English) and so now we can get her designs.  Because of course you want a new girlfriend, too.ChuckNohara6 ChuckNohara5 CN606 prep

This is the one that drew me in.  I’m prepping up some of the blocks just to try them out.  Susan of PatchworknPlay and I are going to join the quilt-a-long and do some of the blocks, too. If you jump in with us, head to Instagram and post up your blocks there.CN969 prep1

I started by scanning the page I wanted, full-size.  I then cut out my block, placed it on the copier bed and enlarged it until it measured 6″ on a side.  For the birdhouse, I needed to enlarge it by 283%.  But the cherries needed 301%.  I have no idea why.  Those mysteries are way beyond my pay grade.CN969_prep3 CN969 prep2

A perfect little project to tote along to doctor appointments, on car trips, and on a journey to my father’s 90th birthday celebration.