Ever Hear Something That Impacts You in a Way You Didn’t Expect?

Ever hear something that impacts you in a way you didn’t expect? A phrase Pat Flynn said recently did that for me. He said:

“A half-finished project might as well be no project at all.”

“So true,” I thought. “Half-finished projects aren’t doing anything for you. They don’t start helping you move forward until and unless you finish them.”

But after thinking about it more, I realized that it goes deeper than that.

Half-finished projects can actually be worse than no project at all — especially if you have a bunch of them laying around.

Why? Because they drain your energy, and you may feel like you’re making progress when really? You’re just jumping from one cool idea to another. The projects become busywork, in a sense, while leaving a lingering sense of guilt over unfinished business in their wake.

And that’s sad, because you might have the greatest idea since sliced bread laying around, just waiting for completion.

Me? I’ve begun to recognize that I will always be a hummingbird, sipping at one brightly-colored flower after another. But by gosh I’m going to be a hummingbird that gets all the jobs done.

I may have half a dozen half-finished projects laying around, but I’m re-committed to spending at least a little bit of time working on each of them weekly until they’re all done.

I’m determined to see actual progress, and then completions, before I start any (more!) new ones.

What about you? Is there a project or goal you’re planning to recommit to?

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14 comments

  • Finish what you start! It is my motto. Great post. Half done projects can be such a burden. I like to finish things immediately or I may never come back to them.

    • I usually finish what I start *eventually*, but it can take a long, long time. And in the meantime I’m feeling that burden…

  • I usually finish any project I start. There are probably projects I should start, but for whatever reason will not. So I guess that is a different problem!

  • SmoochieMama

    One of the characteristics of highly gifted children is the tendency to begin many projects and leave most of them unfinished. They are often graded down for this trait by teachers who view it as a negative when in fact they are actually just leaving it when they feel they have learned all they can from it and are eager to go learn more about something else.

    • Hm, if “learned all they can from it” equals “got bored and super-interested in something else” I would believe that!

  • This is a great observation, and very true point. Leaving projects unfinished just creates clutter in your mind, and maybe even in your home. It doesn’t give that sense of achievement and like you said, has the opposite affect. It might be better to not start something at all unless you plan to finish it, so as not to discourage you with future endevours.

    • That’s a good point about the clutter. Also, starting a large number of projects can be costly, since people are often tempted to buy supplies to go along with them.

  • I basically “stopped” projects and became a minimalist. Half finished projects take up space in the house and space on the to-do list.

  • You said it–projects that are not finished are complaint drainers of energy! Everytime you look at it a thought goes through your head. I have realized this more and more in the last two years and have gotten really good at finishing a few things or taking care of a few things around our home each day. It feels fantastic!

    We are just about to finish our renovations on the two bathrooms downstairs. In fact, we just hung lots of fixtures this weekend and it feels sooooo good to have gotten them off of the ground and into their places. Now I am taking a razor and getting paint off of knobs, tile, etc. It will feel great when that is finished as well!

  • I love projects and am driven until I get them done! Sometimes I do have several in progress at once, but that is so I can use my time more effectively – such as working on scanning in my old photos while waiting for the newly laid bath tile to set up.