The Mystery of Unfinished Projects

Oil pastel abstract

Some projects have been in my head for most of my life. They have never even set foot outside my skull. Other projects happened without intention or reason, they just took off.

Some of the projects that came to life indeed were big, others very tiny, so tiny that I don’t even recognize the effort or fact that they were completed. Others began and stopped by accident.

For some there was serious commitment on my part, for example: I had a podcast way before podcasts were a thing. It was a DJ set where I played my most snobbish music discoveries to a live audience of… very few. But I was there, every weekend, with my MP3’s, my headphones and my intro.

Another project was my personal blog in Spanish that ran for eight years.

I completed two novels, completed as in: I typed 50,000 words for each and then never looked at the manuscript again. Then I wrote a few stories that got published in a couple of literary journals.

In the category of mini-projects, I complete a portrait now and then. I complete a collection of leggings, I complete a surface pattern design. I complete a tote bag. All these should count as finished projects but why can I only focus on the huge projects that I really, truly want to do and I just don’t?

Unfinished project mess

It’s baffling. When I take a walk these are the projects that roam my thoughts, I see them clearly: what I want them to be, why I want them to be but then when I get to my desk, I do something completely different.

Of course I’ve heard all the mantras before:

Just start

Better done than perfect

Progress not perfection

etc. etc. etc.

But mantras don’t change a thing. When we have a project  in mind that is too important for us, the biggest fear is usually that it will not turn out like it exists in our minds due to lack of skills or an unclear roadmap. In my case: I will lose steam and leave it unfinished. And it’s the unfinished project that stresses and depresses me to no end. So, as my anthem song says:

“Finish nothing you start,
and start nothing
you think you’d continue”

-Piano Magic

The trap is you want to build the skills before taking the plunge but then you never feel ready. We then have two options:  start or abandon. If you start, chances are the project will not look like in your mind and you will be discouraged thus abandon. If you abandon immediately without even trying, the project will nag you FOR YEARS.

So what to do?

I want suggestions! Do you have a huge project in your project box that you are afraid of tackling? What is your project management style?

Do you just dive in? Do you shuffle your workspace? Do you consult with others?

Can you help me think outside the box?

Pin for later:

The mystery of unfinished projects