When it comes to project, both personal and business, I have a strong urge to finish which is exactly the hardest part of any project.
Ever paint an entire room only to run out of steam when it comes time to wash the paint brush?
Or spend months working on the program content for your new launch and then not have any energy to do the social media marketing?
No matter how important we know it to be, actually completing a full project is hard.
And then there’s the two competing philosophies that rage in our minds and on cutesy Facebook graphics: “good is good enough” and “get it done right the first time.”
What’s an entrepreneur to do?
Well recently I figured out a way to make both of these philosophies work without getting overwhelmed or feeling like a quitter. Here are 2 examples, one for business, one personal.
My backyard is a jungle right now.
Due to the intense rainstorms in January and February, the grass is growing like crazy, weeds are all over the flower beds, and anything that can hold an inch of water is in threat of breeding mosquitos. Plus I have 3 dogs who run, play, and use the backyard for their bathroom.
In the past, I would brave the backyard on a Saturday, spend hours fighting the weeds, mowing down the lawn, raking up grass and leaves, power-washing the house siding and walkways, and cutting back the roses and bougainvillea. I would quit after a couple hours completely exhausted, covered in sweat and usually in pain, thanks to an old back injury.
About a month ago, I started incorporating “gardening” a few times a week on Productive because it seemed to rain every weekend, and the only time I had was mid-week. Now I spend 10-15 minutes at least twice a week working on a small section of the yard.
We had a windstorm that’s knocked a lot of branches off the neighbor’s tree. Those land, conveniently, in my yard and must be picked up before mowing. So in one week, I might spend 10 minutes picking up sticks and scooping after the dogs, the next time mow a section of grass, and the last day that week rake up grass and do the edging.
Working in smaller chunks of time is just fine and allows me to do better work each time.
The trick and reason why this works is that no one can see my backyard or would know that it’s halfway mowed right now. And in your business, you can do the same – projects that are “behind the scenes” can easily be broken into smaller bits, because no one is going to see the temporary mess that comes with breaking a project across several months.
Conversely, in this business, we’re working to launch a new program.
I haven’t even talked about this publicly and maybe 5 people know about it: my project manager, our virtual assistant, 2 beta testers, and me.
And that’s totally on purpose. Instead of expending energy and focus right now on telling everyone what I’m creating, I’m staying focused on the creation.
That means lots of time writing, editing, scripting, planning, building, making graphics, re-working, shooting video, and checking off one of a thousand tasks in Asana.
(Seriously, I woke up to 50 tasks due today. Oy.)
The strategy is the same though, I’m working on this piece-by-piece as time allows and also making it a priority so it gets done and does not sit in disarray for months or years.
But no one can see the unfinished projects in my business unless I show them.
When you have a project in your business, it can take a lot of time to move from idea to completion, and it’s up to you when you show the world. Some people need that public accountability, or self-shaming as I call it, to get things done.
(Ironically this only works for me on personal projects. Knowing that my lawn is half mowed or a room paint needs touch-up is fine, I’ll be sure to get it done before friends or family come to visit though!)
If you’re leaving projects unfinished or half-finished because you’re announcing them too early or launching before you’re ready, then I’d encourage you to create a small “inner circle” of confidants who can support you along the way to being ready, so when you do share it with the world you don’t run out of momentum.
For me, behind the scenes projects can be a mess longer, but anything out in public needs to be completely ready.