Do you know that feeling of starting a new big project? You get so excited by the idea and you have to start working on it right away. Fast forward 6 months and you’re still working on that blanket, but now you kind of hate looking at it. Since I started doing custom orders and putting more time into other designs, I’ve had to figure out how to better manage large projects.
Now, I can whip out a large throw in just 15 days and still get other things done. Want to know how I do it? Keep reading for my top 5 tips!
Tips on How to Manage Large Projects & Orders
#1 Break it down into sections
When you’re working on a big project, it can start to feel like it’s one massive, never-ending chore. So, to make it easier on yourself, break it into smaller, more manageable chunks.
Whether you are working on a graphgan with a big design or a large order of 50 hats, it helps to think of it as many little tasks rather than one giant one. For my hexagon baby blanket, I didn’t think of it as this big blanket I had to finish. Instead, I planned out how many hexagons I needed in each color and just did that first. I got out my teal yarn and made as many hexes as I could from it, then moved on to the next color. Once I had all the colors, I took one day to just seam it all together.
Don’t worry about finishing touches here.
Each hexagon was easy to make and I could easily make a bunch of them while watching TV, so it was a step that was manageable. I didn’t bother cleaning each one up and weaving in ends or trimming the excess. Just make the hexagons.
Breaking up projects into similar tasks keeps you focused and helps you go faster.
If I’m making several hats, I start with the color for the cuff and just make as many cuffs as I need. Then I work the body of each hat. Lastly, I’ll make the poms all at once and attach them. Smaller sections like this make the whole process quicker and make managing large projects much easier.
#2 Set a daily goal
Right now, I’m working on an order for 4 big throws. Each throw uses 15 balls of yarn and involves this intricate cable design that takes longer than something flat and even. The first throw I made took me a full month and a half to finish, not including the time it took me to design and work out the pattern. I’m only counting knitting time here.
Blanket #2 (same design, just different border color) took me only 15 days to make. With this blanket, I figured out how much I could work in a day without pushing myself. I just sat down after I was done with my other daily tasks and started knitting. I found out that I could work a full ball of yarn each day. So for each day after that, I set it as a goal to work until I had finished one ball and attached a new one. I wouldn’t start working the new ball, but it was there, ready for the next day.
Setting a daily goal helps to keep track of how much you’ve done, how much you have left, and gives you some breathing room.
Once I finish the ball for the day, I can do something else. Or I could do nothing. I can read or watch a movie or whatever I want. I’m on track to finish in 15 days, so I don’t need to stress out about it. If something else comes up and I have less time to work on it, I know I can push myself a bit more and do more than I planned for that day.
#3 Manage large orders with a small side project
It may seem weird to add an additional project to help with managing large projects, but it works!
Sometimes you need a break from the big main thing you’re working on, but you still want to crochet or knit. You just don’t want to work on THAT project. So work on something small and light and fun to keep you excited and motivated. This is where having a blog helps me out so much. I make custom orders all the time for big things, but I always have something else on the go for weekly blog posts. When I don’t feel like churning out more rows on that blanket, I’ll take a break and make a little plushie or a hat or something easy. Sometimes I just practice different stitches on scrap yarn.
I make sure to finish my goal for the day, but working on a fun side project wakes me up and keeps me happy to pick up my hook/needles again. It keeps that project interesting when I go back to it with fresh eyes and helps me avoid mistakes.
Sounds crazy, but working on more can actually help with managing large projects!
#4 Write things down
Everyone knows that having a to-do list helps you get more done with work, school, and life in general, but it also works with knitting and crochet. Writing things down is a satisfying way to stay on track and keep yourself accountable with your time.
Write down the steps you need to do and cross them off once you finish.
Print out your patterns and cross off each line after you’ve worked it.
Make a to-do list of all the items you need to make and mark off each one as you finish.
This is just like breaking it down into sections, but writing it down feels so much more satisfying than just knowing what’s next. This way, you can track your progress and feel good about how much you crossed off as you go. Plus, you won’t forget the little things you save for the end!
In my Make it Happen Planner, I made sure to include pages for this. There is a to-do list page where I can jot down the project, the supplies (to make sure I have everything), and a checkbox to mark when it’s done. There’s also a custom order tracker where I can list out how many and what items I need to make. On the design pages, I included an area where I write down the broad steps I need to do so I can get a clear picture of the process before I start. Writing things out just helps you plan better and work more efficiently. You can check out the entire planner set here.
Above are two FREE resources to help you out. You can also find these and more in my full set of planners and resources for makers, The Make It Happen Planner Set!
#5 Cut out all distractions
98% of the time I’m crocheting, I’m also watching TV and I can bet you do the same. We put on a show on Netflix and just work row after row while Netflix auto-plays episode after episode of Grey’s Anatomy. It’s easy and relaxing but sometimes, that makes us work slower.
You make mistakes when you don’t pay attention. Then you have to go back, fix it, and then catch up to where you were. Or you just stop moving your hands while something crazy is happening on screen. You may not realize how often you slow yourself down by multitasking. So while multitasking is great for personal projects or free time, it isn’t the best for getting orders filled!
If this sounds like you, try turning everything off and just working on the project for a little bit. See how much of a difference it makes when you put all your focus on it. Honestly, I don’t often do this. But when I’m having a hard time managing large projects or meeting that day’s goal, I put everything else aside and just work. When I cut out distractions, not only do I work faster, I can clear my mind. This also helps me with my anxiety and it’s one of the things I wish I knew when I started crocheting.
Those are my top 5 tips for managing large projects and orders! I hope it helped you figure out your time a little better and get those big wonderful, time-consuming projects done. The holidays are coming up in JUST a few weeks, and it’s crunch time for us makers so managing large projects is a big deal.
Want event more tips to level up? Check out these posts below!
Thanks so much for reading! I hope I was able to give you some tips and advice that help you get those big projects done and figure out a workflow that is right for you. I’ve shared some other posts with more tips above, but if you only have time for 1, be sure to check out the planners. Not only will you be supporting me if you choose to buy them, but you’ll have all of the resources, guides, and more to be organized and productive from here on out! It’s been a game-changer for me and I’m so thrilled to share it with you!
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