— January 21, 2019
Do you have a bad habit of starting creative projects and not being able to finish them? Whether it’s writing a book or creating a digital or physical product, working on creative projects can be very fulfilling.
Odds are however, they aren’t your top priority. Other tasks will often take precedence over your creative project as so many things are often fighting for your attention. Before you know it, you’ve lost your motivation, have no spare time left in your schedule, and are stuck with half completed project.
So how do you bring yourself to finish the creative projects you start? Here are a few tips to help.
Set a Deadline
Setting a deadline is one of the best things you can do ensure you finish your creative project. Setting a deadline means you’re setting a goal. It also says that you don’t plan to work on the project forever.
Sure, this may make your project seem like a formal task, but that’s a good thing. If you plan to complete your project and do something with it, it can just be a hobby that you work on whenever you want to.
When you set a deadline for completion, be serious about it. Treat it like a regular work deadline or an appointment that you can’t cancel or a deadline for which you would show up unprepared. That way, you won’t slack off or place it lower on your priority list.
Schedule Time to Work on the Project
I have a friend who wrote an e-book in a single week. I thought this was super impressive and I wanted to know how she did it. She shared her strategy and she mainly just scheduled in the time necessary to complete it.
She ended up spending 3 hours per day on her book but finished it in 7 days. Now, this is a strict deadline, but it lets you know what’s possible for your creative project.
Once you set a deadline, you need to figure out how you’re going to meet it. Create a schedule that allows you to spend some time working on your project each day or each week. If you think that you’ll work with whenever you have in “free time,” that may not ever happen. Work expands to will the time you have. Everything else will take precedence if you don’t schedule specific days and times to complete your project.
You may have to make some sacrifices and say no to other activities for a while, but the result will be worth it when you can finally see that all your hard work led to a polished and completed creative project.
Plan Your Project Out Ahead of Time
We all go through moments when our productivity seems blocked. Productivity stems from motivation, and we are more motivated to work on things that look comfortable and organize.d
If you hit a somewhat tricky place with your project, it may seem more relieving (in the moment) to push it off until later and risk missing your deadline.
Instead of doing this, develop a clear plan from the beginning, so you know exactly what to do and when. This planning will motivate you because you’ll always know what you should be working on and the steps will be all planned out.
Let’s go back to the example of writing an e-book. It’s best to brainstorm this project and map out what your e-book will be named, what information it will give, the chapter titles, and any other vital details. That way, you won’t get stuck wondering what’s next in the process and deter yourself from finishing.
Your plan for your project may change over time, and that’s okay. The important thing is that you have an idea in place at the beginning with and a foundation to build on. A plan from start to finish means it will be that much easier to reach the finish line with your creative project.
Eliminate distractions and show up during the time you schedule to work on your creative project. There’s nothing worse than losing your focus and precious time to tedious distractions.
Set your phone on silent, block social media sites, don’t answer the door, and turn the television off. Do what you have to do to focus better and avoid wasting time and energy on distractions.
You may even find that you’re more comfortable working on your project when your kids aren’t around so you can schedule the time to work before everyone wakes up, during naps or school, or even late into the evening.
Once you find your level of hyperfocus, you can expect to be super productive and cover a ton of ground in the time you have.
Take Strategic Breaks
I’m all for taking breaks when working on creative projects so long as it’s helpful and makes sense. After all, these projects are fueled by/with your creative ideas. If you’re not experiencing any creativity at the time, take a quick break from the project.
Go for a walk, take a nap, spend time with loved ones, or see a movie. Take your mind completely off the task at hand, and this will allow you to attract more creative ideas and motivation.
I do this all the time to finish my passion projects, and it works like a charm.
Find Someone to Hold You Accountable
Be sure to tell some people about your creative project and when they can expect you to finish it. Tell people who you know will support you and check in with you for a progress update.
I once told my dad about something I was working on, and I was pleasantly surprised when he asked me for an update the next time he saw me.
You may even want to take things to the next step and hire a coach. A specialized coach can be the perfect person to introduce you to new strategies to help you finish your project, then hold you accountable.
Don’t give up when it comes to finishing your passion projects. Remember why you chose to start them in the first place and understand that the process to complete them may not be as simple as a general work task, but that doesn’t mean it has to be super challenging.
Have you ever had trouble completing a creative project? What did you do to be able to cross the finish line?