Wednesday 22 July 2015

Help! I've Got Too Many Ideas

I guess you all know the situation - 
Another project was finished.

And now the unavoidable question raises.

What now? Which will be the next project?

Do you know this situation? How are you dealing with this?
I've got so many things in my mind and on my list, that I didn't know where to start.
So many things I would like to do and to try out. And so less time.

I'll try to bring my ducks in a row.....

Here is what's on my list and in my mind at the moment:

  • Continue the Mid-Century table project
  • Prepare the Workbench build
  • Investigate and do some training sessions on seating builds

While writing this post it just happened. I've made a decision how to proceed. Another reason why I'm writing this Blog. Very often it helps to think about the projects, the next steps, design considerations, you name it. And it is a type of commitment as soon as it will be published.

Alright! Let's have a look where I am and what will be the next steps.

Hindsight The Summer Night Light Project

What can I say about it? It's done and next Saturday the Garden Lantern will be handed over to the new owner. I'm eager to see if it will meet her taste.

Finished Garden Lantern

But that's finally it about this build. If you are interested in, please read the related posts.

The Mid-Century Table

I have left the project of building this occasional table to build the above mentioned lantern.
To be honest I have to sort myself to get back into the project.

The table so far

The last status was somewhere there (see picture).

By end of this week I will clean the deck, grab the pieces again and define how to proceed. I guess beveling the legs was the next step.

The New Workbench

For a longer time I'm planning a new workbench for my little shop.
I have weighed up different designs and reconsidered it over and over again.
Finally my decision is to build a bench, which is inspired by the Shaker designed workbenches.
But more on that within the next days or weeks. I will have a dedicated series about it.


Three times I was close to build a seating. First time a bench stool, then a chair for my desk and finally a bench for our balcony this spring. But the truth is that none of these projects has been realized.
Inspired by some furniture I have seen during my holiday trip the idea of building a simple, traditional but contemporary seating came to my mind again.
To build what I have in my mind some traditional skills are necessary and frankly spoken I have to learn and train them.
That being said I need some general information like dimensions and proportions. So I've started to gather information about it.
And if all went into the right direction I'm able to build the chair and the bench I was talking about  a few sentences earlier.
Within the next weeks I will start a loose series of post about these kind of seating and my experiences in how to build them. Stay curious!

By the way. The Bench Stool is already drawn and some material is already prepared. If I won't have anything to do then I will build it.

What's Next

Man, a lot of commitments. But it helps me to get my ducks in a row.
As I started my career as consultant and project manager I have learned to make a contract with myself to reach my personal goals. You have to write down your goals and sent a letter to yourself a few month later (let a friend do that for you). That helped me a lot to check myself.

Anyway, the direction is clear now. I hope you are interested in and you will still follow my Blog.
I would be glad if you would discuss the topics with me.

That's it for this week. A lot of information without any concrete project work.

Keep in mind......
"Every time I think I've got all of my ducks in a row, the damn ducks waddle of in all directions."

Keep calm!



  1. You forgot to add '...and not enough time....'.

    1. Yes Ralph, you are totally right. Too less time....
      And that is the real challenge.

      Talk soon,

  2. What you need is some sort of "Honey Do list", you would have then no shortage of projects :-). Left over from my former job, being responsible to run workshops efficiently, I like to track everything in an Excel spreadsheet and jot down my ideas, lessons learned etc. For every projects, I break it down in numerous sub steps, I plan to accomplished in a given order, and I make myself daily task lists. At the end of the day, my favourite time is to sit down in my shop with a glass of wine or beer and go over my list and highlight the steps I done and modify tomorrow list.
    But, I'll admit that I often jumps around my list as my whims and needs/wants take me...
    As for the wandering ducks, ever tried to herd cats? Impossible :-)
    I will also add that now being retired, I do not feel the time pressure I'm used to, so I can really indulge and do what I want, when I want, I really appreciate that.
    Keep calm and carry the workshop

    1. Hi Bob,
      thanks for your words. I fully understand what you are talking about. As a project manager I'm quite familiar with to do lists and plans.
      And as you I like to see the progress on a list after a hard working day.
      My real challenge is that I have to find enough time for doing woodworking beside my day job.
      And so I ever have to judge if I will spent my rare free time with the "right" project.
      It's not that I'm running out of projects. The question is which one will be the next and is it worth to spent the time?
      Be assured that there is a "Honey Do List" which I'm not writing about ;-)


  3. Stefan,

    Join the club:-), It's tough, the LOML will usually get first crack at my time but the good news/bad news is she has so many projects I can pick and choose. Some have been in the queue for years, and of course I sneak in one of my own on occasion.

    Having too much to do is better than sitting around lost and bored.

    BTW, you can find several half finished projects stuck in cubby holes around the shop, most will never be finished for what ever reason.

    Keep on keeping on if for no other reason than to see what's around the next bend in the road.


    1. Hi Ken,
      thanks for your comment.
      You are totally right. It's always good to have something to do.
      I've got enough projects on my list for the next years. It was just the moment after finishing the last one, at which I had to decide what will be the next steps/projects.

      Keep on reading ;-)


  4. Ok so now that we ascertained that you have such a list, too easy... Just pick one, and it doesn't even have to come from THE list. Whatever you fancy at the moment, is simply what should be the next one. Chances are pretty good that such animal would already resides on da list :-).
    Of course, once in a while you have to let loose of the list and try something else, just because!
    In other words whatever keeps your interest up, is what you should do next.
    Keep calm and review the list :-)
    Bob, pondering the same sentiment at this moment...

  5. Hi Stefan,

    One thing I like to do either between projects, or when I get bogged down with a big one is to do a small project or two. When you can finish something in one shop session, I find that it bumps up the motivation to keep going. Tools or shop appliances are always a great place to start.

    Personally, I have no problem starting something new if I'm not done with the current project yet. I have one project that's been on my bench a couple years now that I haven't finished for no other reason than my priorities have moved on for other projects.

    Also, I want to say don't be afraid of building a chair with the tools and skills you have now. It is good to push yourself, but you might find when you are done there was nothing to be afraid of. My only regret in building chairs is that I didn't start sooner.

    1. Hi Brian,
      thanks for your comment and encouraging me to build a chair.
      I'm almost certain that I can do it. For the seating I have in mind, I will need sliding dovetail battens and that will be the first time I will do them. So I thought it would be a good idea not to start with the project but train to make these battens.

      I like the approach to do a small project between bigger projects. I'm doing that too and try not to spend more time as expected into such a side project,

      The unfinished projects are bothering me for two reasons.
      1) I have started them because I would like to have that piece and it won't get ready.
      2) That project was started but not well thought out and I didn't really want it.
      In that case it is a pity about the time you have spend.

      Hope to talk soon about chair making ;-)