Stitch Pro: Set Yourself a Deadline

May 2, 2013

I received a note from a beader on Facebook this week asking, "...what are you up to these days?" Boy...other than working a full-time job, fostering a loving relationship, preparing for yet another move (we bought a house!), dealing with an emptying nest as my son graduates high school and leaves home for the military and college, and then coping with the everyday drama of my teenage daughter, hmmm... not much!

I'm pretty sure the person who asked the question was wondering what I've been beading lately, though, and that's a little more difficult to answer. As a technical editor for Beadwork magazine, I bead in my head all day long, but like so many of my friends and colleagues, I find it difficult to carve out creative time in which I can get some actual beading done. That is, unless I have a deadline.

Deadlines are often the only way I get anything done, especially beading. They put a fire under my buns and get me to clear my schedule, making creativity a priority. I figure I snap to it when it comes to a deadline for a couple reasons: First, when someone asks me to do a piece, I feel I'm beholden to them; that person is counting on me to get the piece finished. It's kind of like having an exercise buddy--you exercise more when you have a friend to do it with. I envision the person who gave me the deadline and I as an artistic team. In that same "Go Team" vein is the second reason I like deadlines--it's a fun challenge! I turn this challenge into a sort of creative game, complete with a game board (my detailed to-do list); small celebrations when I cross things off the to-do list (i.e., I get to put a load of laundry in...I know, that sounds lame, but that's how I get any housework done, too!); and a big reward when I'm finished (this often includes chocolate). For me, turning the deadline into a game makes working on the piece something enjoyable that I can look forward to every day.

Luckily I've got a new deadline approaching. I've been invited to participate in the "Toho Challenge". Team Toho sent me (and several other designers) this beautiful kit of beads from which I need to make a masterpiece (no pressure). If it's any good, it'll be on display at the Bead & Button show next month. Can I do it by May 24? We'll see! I'll be sure to keep you apprised of my progress.

Do deadlines work for you like they work for me? If not, how do you manage to carve creative time into your schedule? Please share your tips and tricks below so we can all benefit.

Happy beading-

Jean Campbell

Senior editor, Beadwork magazine


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Anni Magpie wrote
on May 2, 2013 10:51 AM

Deadlines - I am recently semi retired, so budgeting time should be easy????? I should be making the most amazing peices of my career as the creative juices just flow. OK - now I need to set goals and deadlines. I am making four pieces for a wedding on May 18. I have all of the supplies, ( Bought on sale!)  and pretty easy designs. I could wait unbtil the 15th and still get them done. But I too have a team, (the Bride) and I don't want to add stress to her life. My deadline is to deliver the finished peices on Sunday.

PS what a beautiful stash you have to work with. So excited to see what you come up with.

BeadPassions wrote
on May 4, 2013 12:38 PM

Yup, work best under pressure.  I have been putting off making the last part of a birthday gift for days -- a beaded bookmark for a very special book.  The party is in four hours!

dianedp wrote
on May 8, 2013 12:54 PM

My deadlines--so far--consist of my husband's Christmas parties and the AF Birthday Ball. These are the hard deadlines I've been almost able to meet (both times, the bracelet didn't get finished in time).

My pendant was a big hit at the last Christmas party, and my husband hatched a plan that would allow me to test the market, via his extremely large, equally male/female, DIA (Disposable Income Available) network. That plan had a deadline of March 1, and I'm *almost* finished--I've got three pendants but only two sets of earrings.

I think I'm dragging my feet because I don't believe the people who asked if they can buy my jewelry *will* buy my jewelry. However, Hubby's plan requires low start-up funds (the necessary items and my time) and eliminates the embarrassment factor, so it's worth it. (Last weekend, my earrings were a major hit at the hair salon, where I brought them to show my stylist exactly what I meant by "I need everyone to see my earrings".  Well...and to show off my new favorites and get potential customer response.)

So, yes and no: A hard deadline works (no one is going to delay the ball because my jewelry isn't done); a soft deadline gets a soft response. Hopefully in a year I'll be able to tell you how I handle customer deadlines!