I’m the queen of abandoned projects. Learn from my mistakes.
I love a good project. I love taking on something new, getting all set up, diving in.
But eventually the newness wears off. The project isn’t fun anymore. And it’s ultimately abandoned.
I’m the queen of abandoned projects.
I still have picture frames waiting to be hung in my apartment — even though I moved in six months ago. I have a paint-by-numbers picture still waiting for the last bubbles to be filled in. I have several unfinished novels sitting on my hard drive.
I’m not proud of it, but I rarely finish anything I start. But why?
Is it in my DNA? Am I just lazy? And more importantly, how do I change? How do I become the person who commits instead of quits? What magical switch do I need to flip to finally make a change?
The internet is full of so-called experts on productivity, but I won’t pretend to be one. Because the truth is I haven’t the slightest clue how to make myself actually finish the projects I take on. I don’t know how to get more done in less time and I certainly don’t know the secret to success.
But maybe my lack of follow-through can teach you a thing or two. Maybe if you try and avoid everything I do, you’ll find out exactly what you need to do. So here it is, my three-pronged approach to never getting anything done.
Dive in hard
Oh that new project feeling. The excitement. The anticipation. The buildup. This is the honeymoon phase. I get a new idea, and all I see is the good. How fun it will be. How it will enrich my life.
So I jump right on in. I don’t think. I just jump. And forget about pacing myself. I become borderline obsessed, dedicating so much of my time and energy to the project.
But in the honeymoon phase, I have rose-colored glasses on. I don’t see the roadblocks and challenges ahead. I only have eyes for the moment in front of me. So it’s full-speed ahead — until I burn out.
Then it’s the inevitable slowdown, the end of the honeymoon. And finally, another project catches my eye, and this one is abandoned.
When I’m jumping in on a new project, I don’t have time for lists or plans. I’m going with the flow, letting the mood strike me. I’m not setting goals or making timelines. I can’t be tied down.
But when that slowdown ultimately comes, the mood is no longer striking me. I have nothing to rely on but my willpower, and let’s face it. I don’t have any willpower to speak of.
So when I come across that first challenge, I don’t have any way to deal with it. This wasn’t supposed to happen. This was supposed to be all fun and games. So that challenge, that roadblock, it leaves me stumped. I don’t have the will to conquer it, so I abandon it and once again, move on to the next project.
Focus on perfection
When I start on a project, I have these grand ideas about it. How wonderful my novel will be. How beautiful my paint-by-numbers painting will turn out. But when I’m actually working on the project, it’s never as good as what I imagined in my head.
I don’t like to be mediocre. I’m always striving to be better. To be the best. But even when I think I’m giving my best, it’s not enough. So I think well if my project isn’t even good, why finish it?
Is an unfinished masterpiece better than finished mediocre work? Probably not, but for some reason, this is the way my mind works.
I’m trying to be better. To be more mindful about the projects I take on. To be realistic and not get ahead of myself. To keep going when the going gets tough. Maybe someday I’ll relinquish my crown and don a new one. Queen of completed projects sounds like a much better title to me.