This essay is written by me, Brandon Nolet, in the context that one must get some closure when working on projects and ideas.
When working on a large project I find myself losing interest after I’ve marked the first few steps of the project. This time usually arises during the planning or beginning stages of the project. I get all riled up because of this new project and then two days later I become disinterested or lazy.
Most of the time it’s because I haven’t clearly defined what the next step in the project is. I become so overwhelmed with the weight of the image I have of the project. I begin to ruminate about the project at some point and the project just feels bigger and bigger in my mind until the point of intimidation. I end up then losing sight as to why I even started the project. This is project fatigue.
This leads to never being able to say, “it’s done,” about a given project. With so very few projects have I felt the type of closure you get when you’re finally able to wash your hands of a project because it’s been completed. I think this contributes to my project fatigue. Imagine starting a whole bunch of projects and then just making no progress on them. It almost becomes demoralizing and you can really lose confidence in your own ability.
This is something that I’ve been struggling with for a while and that’s partly why I want to stop making new projects, evaluate my current projects in progress and in mind, and figure out which ones are actually worth following through on.
I would list what I have, but I’m afraid to because then I become even more accountable. Eventually I will, but for now I’ll leave it at, “I have more than 5 projects in progress and more than 5 that are in my head.”
One thing that I’m trying to do to combat that project fatigue is adopting the Getting Things Done action-management system. This involves clarifying and defining a lot of the things that I do on a daily basis. The GTD system is already well defined in many places on the internet so I’ll just link to my favourite summary called GTD in 15 minutes.
With this system, I find myself valuing my time more and with this increased valuation of time, I try to stay on task much more often. Being mindful of this time also has helped me evaluate much more often the purpose of the things I’m doing. “Why am I watching this video? Does the information in this video help me get closer to my goals?” If the answer to that is no, I usually just close the tab.
Getting down to the root of my actions, I think I’ll be able to increase my confidence in my actions. Not only have I defined more clearly the goals I have, I’ve also been able to mitigate actions that would bring me further or no closer to those goals.
Lastly, sort of the catalyst for this post, I’ve started putting in my todo-lists for projects (big or small) an entry called “Done.” It lets me have that moment of pause before I wash my hands of a project to consider “am I really done?” When the answer is yes, it’s a sigh of relief and it’s a load off my back.
This “done” entry allows for that type of closure when you find yourself lacking the confidence in your ability to successfully complete a project. I hope that it has the desired effect and that I don’t just end up putting “done”s everywhere.