Highly motivated and energetic individuals often fail to reach their goals or bring a project to a successful conclusion because they burnout or run out of steam before the project is completed. Has this ever happened to you? It has happened to me countless times.
You come up with a great idea, a fantastic idea. You throw a lose plan together and begin to spend time and resource on it at a frenetic pace. You hit some snags but you keep grinding away.
Problems arise but you lay them aside because you want to bring the project to a conclusion quickly. As difficulties mount they begin to have a real impact on your efforts which require more and more of your time and attention.
Your efforts begin to stall. You become discouraged. What seemed like a thrilling venture turns into a laborious task that you now seem to avoid. Once again, you feel like a failure.
I cant’ tell you how many times this has happened to me in the past. It is something I guard against but I let this happen to me again just yesterday.
I was out for a run, training for a 10 K race and my plan was to run 6 miles in a certain amount of time. It was already hot and humid. I started out way too fast but at first I thought, this isn’t so bad. Even though I knew I should slow down, I didn’t listen to my gut instinct.
I blew up and had to walk some after four miles and then again at five miles. I never finished the six miles I had planned to run, turning in only 5.5 and I was way over the time limit I had set. I had just wanted to get it done but in my haste I failed to complete what I had set out to do.
A worthy task, goal, project, creative work or even life is not a race. If you view them as such you will probably lose out every time because in those instances, you are only racing against yourself.
If there is something that you wish to do that is worthy of your time, effort and resources then slow and steady work is how to get things completed. You want to position yourself for successive approximations toward your goals. In other words, in progressive steps.
Do you have a specific project in mind? Here are 7 ways to help you shepard that idea to completion:
- Develop a full plan or outline. Take the time to do this. It will save you time later. This is your map or guide to get you from point A to point B. Without one, you will be lost.
- Set a realistic time line. Spread your energy and enthusiasm out over time. If you don’t spread these out you will burn out.
- Break large projects up into to smaller segments. No one sets down and rights a novel beginning to end in one session. It is usually written in one to five page segments daily. Checklists help with this.
- Slow and steady progress beats sprinting out of the gate. Marshal your energy and efforts so that you can go the required distance and finish.
- Don’t look to others to gauge your own progress. Keep your eyes on the task (road) in front of you. You can’t watch where you are going if you are distracted by what others might be doing.
- Aim for small victories. They are like water stations along a race route. They refresh, reinvigorate, and propel you forward. Get rid of the all at once or nothing mentality. It is self-defeating. Celebrate the small success. If there is a set back along the way, adjust and move on.
- Enjoy the process. If you know where you are headed and are determined, you can relax. Don’t become so unidirectional and engrossed that you can’t enjoy the creative experience which is enjoyable in and of its self. Then, you will come to know the full joy of your creation the moment you deliver it to the world.
Can you identify with burning out on a project before it is completed? What steps can you take, or have you taken, to avoid this scenario?