In The Middle

I am familiar with being in the middle. Born the middle of three daughters, I am of the opinion that the middle is a great place to be. At the very time that I was driving my older sister crazy, I knew exactly how she felt because my little sister was doing the same to me. When I was a jerk to my little sister, I knew what she was going through because my older sister had treated me the same way. This has given me a unique perspective on life, and I feel it has made me better able to see different points of view, and has made me a more compassionate person. However. Being in the middle is not always the best thing.

Anyone who has ever undertaken a lengthy project can attest to this: the middle sucks. You’ve already figured out how to accomplish what you need to, and now you’ve lost interest completely. You’ve already put hours/days/weeks/months of work into it, with the same or more left yet to do. What once was exciting and new is now boring as hell, and the idea of stabbing yourself in the eye with a spoon is preferable to spending one more minute on this stupid godforsaken project that you never wanted to start in the first place.

I have now been working on my Capstone project for two months, and we have two months left to go. And it shows. Morale is low, motivation is even lower, and the stress and craziness of finishing school and finding a job is sucking up all the time and energy we have, leaving none behind to work on our project. As producer, I am tasked with getting my team out of this bog, while I’m drowning in it right alongside them. I’m in it so deep it’s hard to see the way out, and harder still to drum up the motivation to start the long, hard slog. So what’s a girl to do? As with most things in life, I turn to knitting.

Looking around my apartment, I see a dozen projects that are waiting patiently for me to finish them after I put them down for ‘a short break’ during that boring middle section. Here’s my wall of shame:

The beginning of a sweater.
A scarf I started last week.
A scarf to match some fingertip-less gloves I made.
Detail
A lace scarf I started in high school.
A lace shawl started several years ago.
A lonely mitten.
A silk scarf for my mother.
Same scarf for my mother.
Musical gloves for my mother – sorry Mom!
The sleeve from the Sweater from Hell – look for this
again in an upcoming post!
Had to bring knitting to see Star Wars
Episode 1 in 3D, and this was it.
I only got this far because I ran out of yarn 😦

So clearly, I have been defeated by the dreaded middle a time or two in my day – this doesn’t even cover the projects sitting at my parent’s house! So, here are my three tips for getting over the hump and actually finishing projects, knitting and otherwise:

1. If you can afford to, give yourself a break from it; however, avoid giving yourself an open-ended break. Set a time or date when you will get back to it, and make sure you stick to it.

2. Try to remember the things that you loved about the project in the beginning – make yourself fall in love with it all over again. Staying enchanted can help you finish it!

3. Try looking at it from a different angle. Sick of that stupid cable running up the front of your sweater? Put that part on a stitch holder and get cracking on those sleeves you’ve been dying to try. Getting bogged down in paperwork? Switch to a more hands-on part of the project for a bit until you’re refreshed and ready for another go. When becoming bored and/or frustrated, working on a different part of the same project can help to keep you interested and sane.

How do you guys get over that hump in the middle of a big project? I’d love to hear your ideas!

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Filed under Advice, college, Family, In the Middle, knitting, Management, projects, Senior Team, Thoughts, Unfinished Projects, yarn

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