Why You Should Finish That Project (and What to Do about What’s Getting in the Way) Part 2

In Part 1, we talked about the benefits of finishing that project that’s been dragging along.

But you and I both know that having a good reason (or even lots of good reasons) to do something isn’t always enough to get us to do it. So today, let’s take a look at some of the obstacles that get in our way, and what we can do about them.

1. Lack of time

You have lots of demands on your time, including family, other business stuff, and whatever other commitments you’ve made.

The frustrating truth is that you will never have as much time as you think you need, so learning to deal with a busy schedule is crucial to growing a thriving business.

What to do about it:

Another truth is that we have a lot more control over our schedules than we think we do.

Take a look at your schedule and how you’re spending your time. Are there things you’ve agreed to that are no longer in line with your values and priorities? You are allowed to say no to those things to make more time for growing your business.

Even carving out 30 extra minutes a week of focused time can make a huge difference.

2. Working on a wrong-for-you project

It takes lots of time and energy to finish a project – after all, you’re essentially creating something from thin air.

So if you choose a project you’re not interested in just because you think you should, or because it would be “good for you,” it’s going to be a lot harder to finish it.

This can also happen if the project as a whole is right for you, but some part of it is wrong for you.

Back when I was creating my first info product, my progress ground to a halt when I decided to include an affiliate program. I was mired in details and what-ifs and then I finally realized I was stuck because an affiliate program just didn’t feel right for my business.

What to do about it:

If you suspect this is why you’re not making progress, get specific about what you do and don’t like. Get creative in modifying the project to be more fun for you.

If all else fails, give yourself permission to scrap this project and put your energy toward a different project that’s a better fit. Or, if you really can’t quit, find lots of ways to remind yourself of why you started it, and the benefits of finishing it.

(My first info product? Within a few hours of deciding not to do the affiliate program, I pressed Publish on the sales page. Things just flow better when you’re working on the stuff that’s right for you, and cutting out what doesn’t fit.)

3. Gaps in your skillset

If your project requires you to do something you’ve never done before, you might find yourself avoiding sitting down to work on it. It’s uncomfortable to work outside your comfort zone, especially if the possibility of making a mistake or looking “foolish” freaks you out. (I’m right there with you.)

What to do about it:

Remember that it’s okay to ask for help, and most people love to be helpful. Depending on the situation, it might even be a good idea to pay for help.

If you’re used to doing things solo, or simply dislike the thought of “imposing” on someone else, remind yourself that you are being a smart business person by saving time and learning from someone who’s been there before.

4. Lack of energy

Last I checked, we are humans. And humans don’t operate with unlimited energy.

Add to that our cultural penchant for over-committing, over-scheduling and over-working, and it’s a formula for burnout. I’ve been burned out off and on since my early teens, and I don’t know anyone who’s never experienced it. It’s an epidemic, and it’s not good for business.

You simply can’t do your best work from that depleted state.

What to do about it:

Make rest a priority. Yes, I know this is difficult, but it’s necessary. Depending on how drained you are, you may have to focus on rest for a while, before making time for your project. The beauty of resting first, though, is that the time you spend working will be more effective. How many times have you “given up” on being productive, gone to bed and then zoomed through that stuck task the following morning?

5. Fear

This is the Big One. In fact, fear is often at the root of the other obstacles that get in our way.

It doesn’t matter what you’re afraid of (failure, success, judgment)…you may not even be consciously aware of being afraid.

Our lizard brains are hard-wired to see change as dangerous, and completing a project will mean change.

In other words, you’re normal! (Congratulations!)

What to do about it:

I doubt that we can ever completely get rid of our fear, but we can learn to work around it. We must learn to work around it if we want our businesses to grow and support us.

One of the most important things you can do when you realize you’re afraid or anxious about your project is to stop, breathe and become aware of your body. Then, from that grounded place, it’s much easier to examine the specific fears, and figure out pragmatic ways to deal with them.

Victoria Brouhard is a scuba instructor turned database programmer turned project & small business coach who believes you can shape your work around yourself rather than shaping yourself around your work. She can help you create something amazing for your people (sustainably and enjoyably!) in her 4-week course, Project Prowess. Victoria blogs at www.victoriabrouhard.com and hangs out on Twitter as @victoriashmoria.

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