One of my bad habits in many aspects of my life is making things more complicated then they really need to be.
I’ve been working on reigning this in, but it’s something the I have to put a lot of effort into.
With my designs, I like to add in interesting little details that make for a more pleasing finished item. When I’m starting the design I make it the way that pleases me. This often includes things that may not be intuitive to others and can be difficult.
In the past I would leave these touches in my designs as I initially made then. Nowadays I’m more likely to try several versions, using techniques that might be more familiar and easier for most knitters to understand. I’m trying to keep the final item as close to my initial idea, but making it simpler then it would have been.
With other life projects I’m finding a couple new approaches are helping me a lot now.
I start by making a task list for the project and breaking it down into as many small steps as I can think of. Once I have that I go through these again and add time estimates to these steps. I then usually let it rest for a day or two and then review it, seeing if there are things that can be trimmed back or seeing if I’m, as usual, making it more complicated then needed.
Once I’ve revised this a couple times, and I’m happy with it, I will often get someone else to look at it again with me, to give it a reality check. This helps me a lot because that other person may see where I’m going astray and help me get back on target.
A good example happened this week. In my spinning program we are onto our last assignment, which is a design challenge. The challenge I chose was producing a line of yarns for a specialty yarn store. We have to come up with at least three yarns, with a couple colourways for each yarn.
The instructors asked us to submit proposals for our projects, so they could see if we were on the right track. I submitted mine and, no surprise, it came back with comments that what I proposed looked overly ambitious. They liked the overall concept though. They gave me several suggestions on how I could pare it back but still keep the overall themes intact.
So I’m revising my proposal and plans, and will be resubmitting them soon. I figure after a couple back and forths we’ll have a project that is still interesting but much less work then my initial ideas.
Having my instructors as a reality check for this assignment is invaluable. Their guideline is that the homework should be about 40-50 hours of work. Looking back at my initial proposal it probably would have been in the 80-100 hour range, which is way too much.