Every project is a roller coaster.
From startups to coding to writing and everything in between. It’s hard to stick to any endeavor after the honeymoon phase ends.
At first we’re driven by inspiration and excitement of the new, but that of course fades. What you’re left with often determines if that project is going to be finished or not.
Sometimes quitting or giving up is the right answer. Your work may be detrimental to your health or your relationships or simply isn’t working. The thing is, that’s hardly the case.
More often than not, we give up because things get a bit hard or we get bored or we get distracted. These are not good reasons to quit.
The good news is that if you go about things in a more deliberate manner, you can overcome the desire to give up and see your work to its end.
Here are four things you can do to prevent you from quitting anything.
1. Create for yourself
Most importantly, whatever it is you choose to work on, be sure it’s something that you are truly interested in and want to do.
Far too often we fall in love with another person’s vision or hobby and before we realize it, we’re no longer enjoying the work.
They key here, before even picking what to do, is to think about yourself first. Scratch your own itch. Work on things that you enjoy, that you understand, and that you want to achieve.
This is probably the best way to set yourself up for success and it comes before it even begins.
2. Tackle projects in sprints
One of the most common reasons we give up on a project is because we want to work on something else. Either we want to do many projects at once or we get tired of what we’re working on and are ready for the shiny, new idea.
Having generalist tendencies, I struggle with this on the regular, but I’ve found a simple method that helps keep me on task: sprints.
Now I don’t mean running, but rather chunking projects into a short time frame, allowing you both the focus and flexibility you desire.
Instead of trying to juggle 5 projects at the same time, I assess my projects and then I pick one to tackle for 3 to 6 months. Once its complete, I can move on to the next project in my list. This helps me in a number of ways.
First, it allows me to focus and work on my projects sequentially, rather than simultaneously, which is essential. Second, it gives me a finish line, so I know that I will be able to work on everything else I want to in a definite amount of time. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Not all projects can be chunked into 3 or 6 months, but those can be broken down further, to make them more palatable. The key is to put your mind at ease and realize that you don’t have to do this work forever.
3. Develop a routine
No matter the project, things will get difficult. Your work may seem boring and tedious. Your procrastination game may be unwieldy. You may just feel uninspired.
It is in these difficult moments that a routine is vital. When things just aren’t going your way, a routine can get you back on track.
Having a series of habits or steps that put you in the right frame of mind and prime your thinking to the task that is to come, makes it all the more easier to get back to the gritty work ahead of you.
The funny thing is, once you get into the flow from your routine, all your ideas and inspiration come rushing back. You’re back in the place you need to be. Routine allows for consistency.
4. Write down your ideas
Finally, I keep a notebook to put my mind at ease about all the things that I allegedly will be missing out on, while I focus on the project at hand.
This serves two purposes. First, it allows me to engage with the new idea, ever so briefly, which provides me some comfort that I’m not completely abandoning it.
Furthermore, now that it’s documented, I know that it can come back around during my next sprint. It gives me hope for future interaction. This is important when you’re trying not to get distracted by the new.
And of course, my favorite method for collecting my many thoughts and ideas is a commonplace book.
Age wrinkles the body, quitting wrinkles the soul.Douglas MacArther
Sticking with anything is difficult, but those that can do so are often rewarded. It is truly the only way to realize meaningful work, as every project has its lulls.
Learning how to get through the hard parts and come out of the other side, is an important skill to learn. Hopefully these tips can help you do exactly that.
Don’t make giving up a habit.