This post is about finishing a long-forgotten project. I hope it motivates you to finish something. It will be so satisfying!
This week I had planned to introduce another Name of God after all April is right around the corner. But all week I have been procrastinating and I couldn’t figure out why. I know what Name I am going to write about and what the challenge will be, but I just couldn’t make myself do it.
This week everyone’s world has been tilted a bit and we’re all a little weary of the changes and the craziness and how this virus thing is going to play out. For us, not much has changed. We’re changing the menu as a lot of the shelves are empty at the store and we’ve canceled church and homegroup. For us, we’re just staying at home as much as possible.
The upside of this for me is that I have a little time to get to my basement. It has been my nemesis. For years we have just opened the door and thrown it in the basement. My art room is in the basement and I have been just finding micro inches to get my projects done. This week I have had some time to get in the basement. I am excited to say that I filled a big 90-gallon trash can. In the process of getting decluttered, I have found a lot of unfinished projects. I probably won’t finish all of them, but there will be a few that I will finish. Today I felt motivated to finish a problem that will hopefully solve a problem.
I have always been frustrated with a first-floor laundry. I know it’s A LOT better than a basement laundry, but where do we generate most of the clothes? The floor where the bedrooms are. In my house, it’s on the second floor. Fortunately, I have this very handy husband and shortly after we moved to the house 30 years ago, he moved the laundry upstairs for me. It has just been the best thing ever. However, my one little problem is a very persistent little bird that is trying to build a nest in the dryer vent, which is now up on the second story. It’s a problem every spring. In the past, we just have to turn on the dryer and the bird gets the message. This year, however, we have a VERY persistent bird and we’re going on more than two weeks trying to give it a strong message that this is not the place for you.
In the basement, I uncovered two birdhouses that my dear husband made at least four years ago. He had built several birdhouses for a lesson in Children’s Church and there were two leftover birdhouses. I had intended to stain them and put them out but that never happened. So this year I unearthed the two birdhouses and thought that maybe our little bird could build their next in our little house. I got the houses out, dusted them off and decided to just paint the roofs, but as you can see I couldn’t stop there. I have been doodling some Mary Engelbreit flowers and they ended up on the birdhouses. The birds that end up moving in better appreciate their upscale digs!
THE CHALLENGE – FINISH A PROJECT
Do you have a lot of unfinished projects? As I continue to clean out the basement, I’m finding more projects and I am evaluating which projects I need to complete, want to complete and don’t want or have to complete. I have all these grandiose ideas that I start and then I don’t finish the project. Why is it so hard for me to finish a project? I know personally, a deadline is my best motivator, but what’s the psychology of not finishing. Sometimes we set too big of a goal that we set ourselves up to fail. If I decided to be a runner (which will never happen) setting goals to run a marathon later this year is probably not realistic as I don’t run and have a lot of weight to lose. Maybe in two years, but think I am going to run a marathon in 6 months is establishing a goal that I will probably not complete.
Sometimes we have this perfectionist thing going on and we don’t have the time or resources to finish. My husband always says 80% is better than the 0% of not getting a project finished. So get over it and think about the reasons you started the project in the first place. We can’t let perfectionism get in the way of getting things done. Doing something imperfectly is always better than not getting anything done at all.
Sometimes we don’t finish projects because we underestimate how long a project will take. I am really guilty of this one. I tend to budget about a quarter of the time it takes to really finish a project. Maybe we don’t anticipate interruptions. Those littles can really break the flow when you’re just getting into a productive state. So somehow you have to protect your time – get the kids to bed early (yes I hear you laughing at me right now) or get someone to come over and be with the kids so you can get to the project. So often we don’t ask for help when we need it. The bottom line is that it got hard and we just stopped. As author Jon Acuff says, “When it stops being perfect we stopped too.”
There are probably a lot of other reasons we don’t finish. Drop a comment below to let me know what keeps you from finishing a project.
I recently just finished the book FINISH by Jon Acuff who is a writer and motivational speaker. He offers some really practical tips on how to finish a project. I am going to recap his action steps below. You can get his book here. I thought it was worth the read.
- Cut your goal in half. We tend to be too optimistic when planning our goals, so cut your goal in half. If you think a goal will take you a year, then give yourself a goal of two years. Studies show that you are more likely to make more progress by cutting your goal in half. I am trying to lose weight with intermittent fasting. I wanted to set a goal of doing intermittent fasting for 100 days. Instead, I set a goal of 3 days a week and on average I fasted for 5 days a week so I exceeded my goal but didn’t set myself up for failure with a rigid 100 day fast with no flexibility.
- Decide what you are going to stop doing or projects that need to be abandoned, so you can make time to succeed in the projects that are most important. Learn to say no to things. I have to say I really have a problem with this one. I have a servant’s heart and I really struggle to say no to most things. I know they are good things, but it really impedes my progress towards my goals. If any of you are good at saying NO -what’s your secret so I can get that superpower?
- Make the process enjoyable. Jon Acuff says ” If you want it done, make it fun.”
- Avoid your hiding places and your noble activities. Hiding places are the things we do instead of working on our goal. Maybe it’s time to work on your goal and instead, you decided to tend to the laundry. Or a noble activity might be that I decided to take my bachelor son a meal. He didn’t ask for it, he is gainfully employed and doesn’t need a meal from me. So although he might be blessed, I have just spent a lot of time avoiding working on my project.
- Get rid of your secret rules. When you run across a limiting rule write it down and then as “Says who?”
- Don’t forget to share your goals with people you trust. People who can keep you accountable and help you set realistic goals.
This week your challenge is to just finish a project. I hope its a fun creative project. I hope this has gotten you thinking of projects you want to finish and maybe this post has given you some motivation to think about what changes you can make to get back to your projects.
Above all else, most of us are experiencing more time on their hands, so I just want to encourage you to use your time for you. Finish projects, learn something new. Do anything but binge watch TV.
Leave a comment as to what you are learning. For me, I am trying to figure out how to do better videos. And of course, we could all take a little more time to pray.
Stay tuned. The last week of March is going to be busy. Block out your calendars for 7 pm central as we going to have a Facebook live time of prayer in conjunction with The Bright Bible. More details to come.
Reference: Acuff, J. (2018). Finish. Portfolio Publishers
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