8 Simple Tips to Help you Finish That Project

How many times you start something, only to get distracted? When that happens, how many times do you come back later, to discover you never completed what you are doing? Well, today, it’s time to finish that project!

pile of puzzle pieces to represent an opportunity to finish that project

More than likely, that project was some type of craft. Before long, they build up until you have a mountain of UFOs (Unfinished Objects). But sometimes, it’s other things, such as cleaning out cabinets, doing your laundry, or weeding the garden.

It doesn’t matter what the project is, we still need to get it done and move forward. These tips may just help you pick up the first one and get it done. (And when you do, I give you permission to see it as part of your cleaning schedule!)

To Finish That Project you Need to Make a List

woman's hand holding a pencil and writing a things to do list

This, in and of itself, is a very daunting idea. It can be counterproductive to make a list of every single unfinished project. Trying to do so may just frustrate you even more, and you will quit before you even get started.

Instead, make a list of only FIVE projects you would like to complete throughout the month. Choose a few small ones, and only one larger project.

Once you have completed all five projects on the list – WAIT to make your next list. Start each list at the first of each month. And if you are starting your goal to ‘finish that project’ in the middle of the month, allow your first list to consist of only 5 small, easy to finish projects.

Choose One

pin rug mug loom with an unfinished project in bright blue fabric strips

From the list you made, choose one of the smaller projects. Work on it until it is completed. Then mark it off your list.

Set a Deadline

To finish that project, larger ones need a deadline. In your planner, find a date that is relatively slower, and write down a start date. Then follow up with a deadline date. Each day between the two, set aside an hour or two to work on the project.

To Finish That Project that is Large – Break it Down

painted lone star barn quilt in rust, pink, yellow, gold, lavender, purple, light and dark green

For larger projects, the sheer size and time it can take to complete can be overwhelming. Instead of trying to complete it all in one day, break it down into manageable pieces. For instance, when it comes to creating a Barn Quilt, I work on one section each day.

I have an unwritten rule when it comes to cleaning my house on those days when I am feeling a bit under the weather, or just don’t have any drive. I assign myself to do FIVE THINGS. That may be picking up and putting away five objects.

white board, selection of acrylic paints, green paint tape, quilting book and quilting stencil

It could be five steps to remaking my bed: 1) Strip Sheets off of the bed; 2) Place them in the washing machine; 3) Replace with clean sheets; 4) Put sheets in the dryer; 5) Fold and put away sheets. Once those five things are done, I can sit down and rest for 30 minutes to an hour (depending on how much of a struggle it is that day). I then repeat the process, until I have 25 things done.

At the end of the day, you may just surprise yourself. For me, often those 5 things I put away turns into 6 or 10. Since I have to fold sheets anyway, I may end up folding those towels as well. Doing only five things can take anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes. But once I finish that project, or spend that amount of time, I do STOP, pat myself on the back, rest, and then start all over again. My house may not be spotless at the end of the day, but I can at least see some accomplishments, even on the tough days.

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Make it Fun

If you enjoy listening to music, crank the stereo up while you work. Listen to podcasts: it may make you feel better to be learning something new while you finish that project. If I’m working on handcrafts, more than likely I’m listening to Big Band or Classical music. But housework? That calls for The Tractors! (And yes, this baby does like to rock it!)

Find an Accountability Partner

If you have a friend who struggles with unfinished projects, ask them to be your accountability partner. Often, having to be accountable to another person will encourage you to ‘save face’ and finish that project. Give each other permission to be firm but gentle.

Establish a Reward System

stemware glass filled with homemade orange sherbet with a mint leaf

From the smallest to the largest project, be sure to set a reward for completion. Find something you truly love, and don’t allow yourself the luxury until the project is completed. Make the reward commiserate with the project size. No fair treating yourself to a week-long cruise just because you finally folded that basket of clothes!

Don’t Stress over Unfinished Projects

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Often, life gets busy, and projects do start building up. Stressing over getting them completed can only make it more difficult, and our reluctance to complete them even stronger. Remind yourself you are only human and are allowed only so many hours in a day. And mentally, list the projects you have completed. That lets us know that we are being productive and can offer encouragement to do just one more.

Repetitive Projects

basket of clean folded towels and laundry

Laundry is the bane of my existence. I have no problems putting things in the washer, and I enjoy hanging my clothes out on the line. However, when it comes to folding, hanging, and putting them away, I seem to lose my drive. What you may need is an incentive. Don’t laugh, but see if this one works for you:

Count your laundry, and ‘pay yourself’ for each item folded, hung, and put away. For most items, pay yourself a penny each. But folded sheets (and only if you get them folded neatly) pay yourself a quarter (these are the most difficult things to fold neatly and deserves an extra bit of incentive!). Put this money into a separate jar after each basket is completed.

At the end of the year, you get to spend however much money you have on something fun. This could be treating a friend to lunch, splurging on a new book, or if you have a tremendous amount of laundry to do throughout the year, a weekend getaway at a Bed and Breakfast!

Julie Murphree is a blogger, newspaper columnist, and speaker on all things ‘Living a Simple Life on the Farm’. She is the author of \\\'The Farm Wife – Living a Simple Life on the Farm. She and her husband have 60 acres in NW Louisiana where they actively work on living as sustainable as possible.

1 Comment

  1. Ha! I hate folding fitted sheets so much that I just wash the sheets and put them right back on the bed. Life is too short for that struggle 😊

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