Projects in Lockdown – Creative Burnout and the Subtle Art of Planning

I hit a metaphorical wall last week. My lockdown experience started on the 23rd March 2020, 13 weeks ago and we all had no idea how long it would last. I started working from home and using the time I had gained from not travelling, not going out meeting people, to crafting.

I sewed, knitted, painted, created and coded. I learned about colour, composition, marketing, productivity and drawing. After 13 weeks I have 3 scarves, 5 hats, 2 dresses, a set of pyjamas, a website, a blog, a set of self drafted patterns for a winter coat, summer jacket, a winter dress and literally dozens of ideas for projects to start next. I wanted to get the most out of this time and I was pouring all my energy into creating.

My metaphorical wall came in the form of an email. I don’t have to go back into work until 17th August. I’d been sprinting from week to week but now it turned out I was in the middle of a marathon. I realised how tired I was all of a sudden.

I had to stop creating and let myself rest and re-adjust. Allowing yourself to rest is one of the hardest things to do.

But now I feel my energy levels slowly coming back up and I have a plan. My plan is to make a plan…

What do I want to achieve before the 17th August?

Then:

What steps do I need to take to make that happen? And how do I put these steps into a time frame up to my deadline?

And most importantly:

How do I organise these tasks to respect my energy levels?

I have maybe 10 -15 projects on the go at any one time. This is not a good way of working and tends to be very short-term. I work on whatever sparks my creativity and ignore the projects that need a lot of work for not a lot of progress. This is what gives me the burnout. All my goals are short-term and I need more perspective for my marathon.

The plan for my plan:

  • List out all my projects.
  • Sort them into groups by discipline or idea origin. This makes everything feel less chaotic
  • Give each project a % rating of importance.
  • Give each important project a number of hours to complete. This might be a complete guess, but it’s a starting point.
  • Work out how many hours I can commit to per week.
  • From there I can start to try and balance the number of hours I have available to the number of hours i need for the more important projects. I might give a dress project 20 hours, but it’s very important, so I can assign 20 hours over several weeks in my mental diary. Another project such as my website might take 100 hours, but be less important so I can assign 2 hours a week to keep on top of it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: