How to manage an ever expanding list of projects?

I really only seriously started blender a couple of months ago, but I litterally spend near 13 hours a day doing something with it.

My problem is that everyday I seem to pull another idea for yet another project out of nowhere and instantly start thinking about how I could acheive it. This distracts me from the project I was already working on and results in a never ending cycle of inspiration vs completion. HOW IN HELL DO I MANAGE THIS???

My current list of projects that were started and taken over by the next goes as follows:

Construct a full replica of the Paris Opera House for the purposes of a third person RPG. (about 1% completed)

Model and Animate a parody of a popular charity advert for the purposes of getting people not to buy tickets to a certain ludicrous west-end sequel. (about 5%) This one has a relevance deadline of the end of this month. ( #$%^&*&^%^&)

Model, Animate and Create environments for several songs from Les Miserables. This would be the most intensive due to the level of facial animation required. (not even 1%)

Create a hilarious music vid involving the BBB characters and a certain Queen classic. (half of the work done by Peach of course)

Create a witty ‘in-joke’ style animation for all blender users to enjoy. this would involve Big Buck Bunny and a large one shot pullback through a complete model of the universe. Oh, and a hilarious punchline, for those of us with older computers. ALSO - Compose and record a full 30 second orchestral score with a 100 peice choir for this shot (I hear the sound techies amongst us muttering ‘Ha! you’re dreamin’ mate!’. not with Reason, GPO, Pro Tools LE, and this amazing software I’m not - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aI5Gg2-mhmU)

Model my first conceptual still, of Queen Victorial standing before a grand gate guarding ruins of a seemingly former utopian landscape in the style of old post-WWII photos. (i think this will be fairly easy, compared to my other projects on this wishlist) The major task in this one will be on the render side of things.

…And somewhere in amongst all that other stuff i need to make a full music vid for my mate’s band…

Minor projects:

Create a character series for my 3 & 1/2 y.o. nephew to enjoy. It doesnt matter what the series is about. Thats where the idea finishes.

And so as you can see, I have alot of time on my hands, but never seem to get anything done. Who’s got a similar problem and what would be a solution?

I should point out that I consider my biggest acheivement is taking on the wealth of knowledge that I have over the past few months and it only due to people like you. And so I wish to thank you all for the tuts, advice, and help on this forum which have enabled me to be better through each day of blender. If I ever get one of these projects finished, I’m going to name or link everyone that has helped me. Thank you all for your continuing support.

p.s i kinda feel like the phantom of the blenderartists.com forum, for the ammount of time i spend on here…its like i dont do anything else.

First I have to say your nickname is genious :smiley: This parrot is no more! It has ceased to be! It’s expired and gone to meet his maker! This is a late parrot!.. I could go on :evilgrin:

Then yep, I can totally relate to your problem, except I think you’re much more ambitious than me in your projects. I have only started this madness recently as well and also find myself with a list of things I want to do that keeps growing.

I have managed to stay more or less focused though, and there are times when I’m surprised at my own discipline - when going through a more-work-less-fun part of a project the evil little Fax on my left shoulder keeps saying “why don’t you start that cartoon instead? Why don’t you go test-drive the game engine?”, but then the less evil little Fax tells me to finish what I’m doing and then go play.

Currently I’m not allowing myself to have more than 2,5 projects going at the same time. Right now that’s 1) finishing the Blender Foundations book, 2) working through Blendercookie’s Vehicle Modeling Series to get a step closer to mastering modeling, and the half goes for taking breaks from these two to do what I want, be it testing stuff or actually doing some preliminary work on some project in my list. This has helped me, but this area of project management is pretty much where I’ve most seen that different tricks work for different people, so your mileage may vary.

This doesn’t stop that list from growing, but at least you’re finishing projects. Just make sure you note down every idea, that will at least become a great seed for creativity later on even if you decide not to work on any of those.

“It’s a stiff bereft of life, it rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed it to the perch it would be pushing up the daisies!” Ah, thanks for making me watch that yet again :slight_smile:

first off, im actually surprised someone actually read through that hectic novel sized thread, so thankyou for your reply.

second of all, the reason my nickname is DeadParrot is because, obviously, Python but when studying film at school I used to joke around and have a fake movie studio named ‘the Dead Parrot’s Society’ wink wink nudge nudge. And so when I started blender I remembered this name and thought, “I finally have a use for it! Bazinga!”

I think my excitement of learning something new at what i feel is an ancient age (im only twenty-five though, but i feel sooo much older) and the fact that ive taken it on with such gusto is a great contributor to my inability to focus. Im the sort of person who wants to learn everything immedeately but what usually happens i end up skipping vital information in order to get to the good bits. This happend when i started learning music, and after recently arranging my first orchestral peice, i realised how important all the vital bits that i’d skipped were. And so i have to learn some discipline, focus, and curb some of my enthusiasm…clearly.

onto the more fun bits though. If you like python, i think we should put our heads together and see what we can collaboratively come up with. Theres another project that i didnt mention which is a blender sketch comedy show in the vein of satirical python sort of comedy but with a more family guy sting sort of thing. if your interested, look me up!

I have a problem like this too. However it’s in the sound and music area. I always compulsively ask if they have a project they want music for.

yeah i used to be the same. but with music these days i tend to finish what im working on then leave it for a while and come back when i feel the itch again. did you check out that youtube link? how sick does that software look!

My husband works at home and has done so for the last 10 years. You need to prioritize each project. Don’t think of them as something you are doing for yourself but rather you are being paid to get the job done. Set a deadline. Put a future date out there and tell yourself the deadline must be met or you will lose something with your contract.

Although he doesn’t have to punch a clock my husband has set aside working hours. Our boys are teens and they know not to disturb him during working hours. Although this also is said, that when it is not work time, it is family time, and I have to put my foot down on this sometimes.

If you are still living at home, you should make up a schedule for your parents so they understand you have hours working on your special projects and also schedule time for doing chores. It is a management training skill that you need to survive in the modern working world.

Looks cool. It sounds like it came from the same company of the software that legendary Jan Morgenstern uses (Reaktor if I’m not mistaken).

ever used one note, or todoodles? very good productivity software if your struggling to organise yourself lol. I end up using them alot at work to keep me from forgetting stuff and help mapping progress etc lol. one note is quite a fluid program so you can just add notes and pictures to everything :slight_smile:

thankd dude, will check it out straight away.

thats okay lol i find myself constantly getting distracted so it saves me forgetting where i am all the time lol

sipmlify, prioritise and Never forget to PLAN AHEAD.

cause there is nothing more disastrous than spending lots an lots of time on a project to realise it has been founded incorrectly!

some say 50% of your work is planning (if you are familiar with coding and blender)

never give up, take a break from time to time, enjoy, …

split things up into little chunks, do what you feel like doing most at this particular moment. don’t keep looking for a sollution longer than 30minutes, divorce from the problem and look back to it the next day (most likely you will solve it in less than 5 minutes)

enjoy

Most of these projects sound pretty big, and without proper planning and some goals they will lose direction. Start off with something semi-complex, eg. a rigged, textured character or a basic scene, make a list of cool things you want to learn/utilize/incorporate, and go from there.

Plus what he said ^

Ive been struggling with this as well over the past few years. I didnt so much have the problem when I first started, mainly because I didnt know very much and all my projects were simple, just to get to know a certain tool or technique.
But once I started working on more complex things, I realized I could do some pretty advanced stuff, which in turn made my projects a lot longer in duration, and then procrastination comes into it, which doesnt help when your starting out on an overwhelming project, or just have some other project idea which takes all your motivation from everything else.

So really, for me, Ive found that being realistic, having discipline and planning are the 3 main factors in being productive.

Be realistic - You say you want to ‘Construct a full replica of the Paris Opera House for the purposes of a third person RPG’
RPG’s are the bane of any game forums existence as far as Im concerned. And you want to produce a full replica of some opera house on top of that??? Its not going to happen, unless you want to dedicate a few years of your life to it. RPG’s are notoriously difficult and complex, taking a lot of time, a lot of programming and its a project which could easily spiral into some impossibly long task.
Keep it simple - Instead of a full RPG, work on components, make a character who can move around RPG style and interact with an environment, maybe with a inventory to collect items, maybe later make a basic enemy and combat system which can be built upon (if you choose to or not).
Perhaps make a section of the opera house, model the whole exterior so the character can run around it etc, but for the interior just do a couple of rooms from the bottom floor, so you can at least walk in and look around a bit. Ive found with level design its much easier to make a lot of closed doors, than all the rooms behind it. It may sound cheap, but it saves you a lot of time, and still fills out the area, the player’s imagination will do all the work, and lets face it, they dont need to be able to walk in every single room in a test level for a RPG project.

Discipline - Force yourself to work on only a couple of projects at a time. I work on 3 max, and there all relatively short projects which i can realistically finish in a month or 2. I also come up with other project ideas all the time. At least 1-2 major projects every week that I would like to oneday work on. So what to do when you get an idea? Write it down, I know youve probubly heard it a million times, but carry a little notebook around, or at least have it on your desk at home. I write all my project ideas in it, and once I get an idea down in it, I feel less stressed, its not as urgent and its there. I can read it again in a month or a year, or several years from now, and it will all come back and Ill be able to start work on it if Ive finished my others at the time. Theres nothing worse than being torn between 10 projects, stressing about starting one before you forget it, while leaving the others to gather dust.

Planning - I plan certain milestones, for example, Im currently working on a UDK game level project (see the newsfeed on my website, link in my sig), and I have to have all assets for the level completed by next Wednesday. If I dont, then I move on without them, forcing myself to work on the most important ones before the deadline if I dont have time to do everything. I could spend months on asset creating, its really time consuming and every time I model one object I think of 4 others I could do as well. I have a list of these assets which is important, and once written a list I try not to add to it, try to always move forwards. I can look at the list and cross things off as I go, so I can actually see for myself if Im on time or getting behind (which is when you start culling parts which arnt super important to the final product)
Also, start a blog, Ive found it to be great, and although you wont have many followers to begin with, you’ll slowly gain a following as people see your work. I also find the blog motivating, it helps me work towards certain targets because once I reach a milestone, I write a new post about it, and thats rewarding. I try to write at least one a week, which keeps me on track of what Im working on and I know if I havent done a new post in a while that I might need to look at where all my time is going.
On top of that, I also promise myself that Ill make sure to finish every project I post on the blog.

I guess its just about finding what works best for you, what motivates you most. The above seems to be working for me personally, Ive been in control of my projects over the past few months more than I ever have.
And sorry for such a long post, but I think its a good topic, one Ive thought a lot about recently (as youve probubly guessed) I might even write up a proper article on my website explaining the topic in more detail with other techniques. (if I ever get around to finishing my site :p)

+1 to that as well. Didnt see that part before.
Ive spent hours late at night trying to fix a problem, only to give up out of frustration, then come back to it the next day and work it out a minute straight. Either that or at some time when your not thinking about it, the answer or a work around will suddenly pop into your head.

Also 13 hours a day is WAY too much. Cut that back a lot, do some other activities. It may seem counter productive but working that much everyday will wear you out and youll get sick of a project and want to move onto something else asap.
With uni at the moment Ive done a lot of time in-front of my computer, and Im starting to get sick of looking at it - not good for productivity.

I’ve been in this game for a long time now. As you can see
I signed up here back 2002 but I was using blender starting in 2000.

Over the years I spent most of my time trying to make photo realistic
images made with blender. In fact it turned me away from what
I initially set out to do and that was create interesting, artistic
and thought provoking imagery.

It wasn’t until this year that I realized what had happened and knew
I had to change my ways. First Thing I did was become a Citizen at
blender cookie.com so I could have full access to all the tutorials.

So after 10 years I went back to square one and started 3 things.

  1. Make a list of stuff I would need to make the kind of images I
    want to make and start making them one by one.

  2. Take the tutorials so I can model, texture and render anything
    I can think of.

  3. Gather as many images, scale drawings and 3D objects I could Find
    to use as references.

So my advice to you is don’t try and make anything complex just yet.
Do tutorials, as many as possible and only model single objects that
you will use later on in big projects.

One last thing. I started my own thread in the Works In Progress forum
to help motivate me to get things done. Because when you post out in
public then people can call you on being a procrastinator or lazy. Also when
you do get things going you can share it with everyone else and that helps
everyone learn and become better.

So you might want to start your own thread and post your results from tutorials.
That may sound silly but really it’s not because it motivates and is helpful to others.

well i’ve taken a 12 day break from all things blender. now i think that after reading all of these replies, i may be able to slowly prioritise things. thank you all for your in depth responses.

  • Keep a notebook of all your ideas. Don’t review it unless you reach a creative block.
  • Everything you remember after two weeks should be put into your schedule; everything you don’t is, by its nature, not memorable. If it’s not memorable for you, there’s a strong chance nobody else will remember it either, after it’s complete.
  • Don’t finish a project until it is absolutely complete; it is better to fully realize a single memorable idea than to half-realize many.
  • Keeping 2-3 projects on the go will help alleviate mental fatigue.
  • If there’s a fork in the road, take it.