The Heap of Shame. Face Your Unfinished Projects or Lose
The only sensible explanation why we have over 7 billion able humans on earth and not enough food to feed them can be summed in one rude sentence. Many are starters. A few more doers. But even few are the finishers. Or even simpler; the unfinished projects.
Forget the 2nd Sustainable Development Goal. Or the fact that the year 2030 seems eternity away. The truth is, there are always plans to feed the world, the time to act on it but the power to finish what was started is always missing in action!
But before you start pointing fingers at the SDG planners, how do you explain the clutter sitting in the corners of your home?
Oops, that turned dark fast.
This isn’t just about you. It is about me and a huge percent of us on earth. It is about why we somehow begin to feel lethargic an hour or two after engaging in a task we thought would help accomplish our dream. Why we find it difficult to complete whatever we are doing today. Why we lack the self-confidence to set timelines. Why we can’t trust ourselves to do what we promise to do, so we choose not to promise anyone at all
Before I ruffle your feathers, as I always do, let me let you in on my little unfinished projects and the torture that led to penning this article. Consider it the self-crucifixion before turning the nails and hammer on you.
Yet Another Unfinished Project
Two days ago I decided to make a beret for myself ahead of cutting off my dreadlocks of 2 years. I wanted to have one ready before the transitioning to the simple life of uncombed natural hair. All I needed was a ball of yarn, a crotchet, a pair of scissors and a simple YouTube video to guide me through.
I set the starting time to 1.30pm knowing that I would be free for the rest of the day till the designated time for preparing family dinner, 6pm. When the time came, I sat in a quiet spot, watched the downloaded YouTube video and went to work. For the next 4 hours, I ignored all Social media beeps, text messages and calls and crocheted my beret.
I also spent the better part of the following day reviewing the video and creating this headgear.
You see, crocheting isn’t new to me. I have more than enough evidence to back my claim. But it isn’t in the format you would imagine.
A quick scan through my bookshelf explains my not-so-exciting affair with yarns and crotchets. Chances are, I have as many balls of yarns, in assorted colors, as you would find in professional crocheting experts like Betty Dora, crocheted bikini expert. The difference between Betty and I is the output.
Let me decode my output for you starting the beret’s predecessor.
First there’s an abandoned would-be shaggy mat in praise of Japan, the country I want to visit before I turn 50. Then there’s its sister focusing on Jamaica and the Rastafari life. There is also something I imagine was supposed to transition to a clutch bag. And finally a quarter-way done something I can’t fathom.
All these sit in my knitting bag waiting their day of judgement; to transition to something usable or be damned into the dustbin. At this rate, I wonder when that will be.
Just so you know, I haven’t bought a ball of yarn in the last 12 months because I have enough from all the projects that never saw the light of the day. I can imagine what you are thinking as you read this:
“Why on earth did she imagine she could birth a beret when the evidence is written all over the wall?”
But you are not alone. I’m also wondering where I got the guts to start the beret when the chances of finishing were needle-thin?
Who was I fooling that this time I put my bottoms down long enough to crotchet a beret, leave alone have a photo shoot to show off the work of my hands?
Wait a minute, did you see how fast the habit of not completing what I start erodes my confidence in finishing the beret I started two days ago?
Hello, does this sound familiar to you?
There’s Honor in Finishing What You Began
My initial plan was to write this article only after completing the beret. That way, I would make you jealous and at the same time motivate you to complete your own unfinished projects.
Sadly, as I type this, the unfinished beret sits in the knitting bag wondering what it did to deserve being ditched like all others.
Ok, so I can’t fool you, so let me be honest and tell you what happened.
The beret first got ditched after a friend called asking me out for coffee on the second day of crocheting. Then when I returned, it was way past 6pm and I needed to set up dinner.
There’s no harm in delaying for a few hours, is there?
Well, since then I haven’t summoned the courage to go back to it. Somehow, its incomplete status adds to the archive of ‘a few are finishers’.
With one more joining the pile of unfinished projects, a huge portion of my self-confidence got dumped. Now I feel like I’m not worthy of starting something new because there is a 99.99% chance it will stagnate.
But that’s not the only thing at risk. Even writing this article is a problem. It isn’t the first one to get dumped in a folder never to be completed anyway. So if you are reading it from my website, not from my computer, then I must have adhered to the rule of ’72-hour sieve’. Or better.
This is what the rule states.
I first used this method in March this year while writing my first memoir, I Hate Me. I typed over 8,000 words in 24 hours. It worked. Talk of survival tactics. And since the completion of that book, I have gained a boatload of confidence in my writing.
Oh, did I mention I still brag about that book to anyone who cares to listen?
Now you know.
I also have found out that at the when I push myself to focus on the project at hand, my whole system goes into a cheering mode. That leads to its completion. Then it turns to a party mode when I stand back to admire the work of my hands!
And who wouldn’t celebrate after successfully ignoring the whims from all the incomplete projects just to get one done?
Isn’t it worth partying about?
Why You Must Complete That Project Now
There are three lessons I have learned from the combination of the unfinished beret project and the successful completion of my e-book, I Hate me.
First, completing that one project assures your brain that you are capable of doing the same in another. And another. And another. Then, impossible is nothing!
Second, when an unfinished project speaks, especially when you have all the resources to complete it, the confidence to ever start another fades into the nothingness. A little voice inside reminds you that you lack the discipline to go all the way. So why bother?
Author and Motivational speaker, Jack Canfield argues my third lesson best in his book, ‘The Success Principles’. “The truth is that 20 things completed have more power than 50 things half done.” The 20 get you closer to realizing your dream.
And on the inverse side, the 50 have the power to drown your confidence. They are the chaps sitting in the back row shouting, ‘Incapable! Incompetent! Immature! Inadequate!’
They make you doubt your every move.
How to Get the Self-Confidence Back on Top
There’s no easier way to say this but,
The power and pride of any project is in the finishing. Your honor is in completing the project you began several years ago but got distracted and abandoned it.Fine Wealth Quotes
In its current state, you can only earn shame, depleting your self-confident because, let’s be honest, there is nothing praiseworthy about half-jobs. So, how do you go back, apologize to the yarn and crotchet in the bag, promise to birth a beret from them and keep your word this time round?
This is it.
Step 1: Swear upon a rock you will do it
I owe the beret to my incoming short natural hairstyle. But it has no way of finding out if I cheat with my famous black fedora hat, does it?
So to solidify the promise, let’s start by creating accountability partners. I’m talking about the unforgiving chaps that will remind you, “But you said you will love me to the end!” in a 5-year old’s voice.
That is why I’m telling you. I owe you to post a photo of a finished beret.
Step 2: Set and stamp the birth date
Telling you isn’t enough when I have lied about it before. Is it?
Until I set the date of birth for the beret, there’s no telling if I mean business by just promising that I will do it. That calls for allocating time for crocheting in my not-so-busy schedule. And since I can’t crotchet one beret for the rest of my life, there’s need to set the expected date of competing it.
Taking all matters into consideration, coming Saturday will do. So on the 5th of August 2020, I hereby promise to post a photo on my Instagram and Facebook profiles, showing off the finished work. Then a screenshot of the Instagram Post will be posted at the end of this article.
It’s that serious.
Step 3: Confront the self-confidence thief with an automated plan.
Remember the 72-hour Sieve system I use to prevent ditching e-books and articles before they are complete?
You need one like that too.
The process before ditching related projects is the same, that’s why the product; an unfinished project, is the same. If you want to shut the mouth of this unfinished projects business once and for all, set a rule that you know when put into use will bear the fruits you desire.
It also has to be something so easy to do that you will be ashamed to break but proud to keep. Something ‘show-off-y’
Don’t tell me you aren’t awestruck by the fact that I write the first draft of my e-books in 72 hours. If you have guts to read my self-terrorizing memoir, ‘I Hate Me’ Chapter 6 covers the rule in depth. And Yes! I own the brag-rights for that!
Hashtag: Got my poise levels back up baby!
Step 4: Deal with the rest of the mess now
“Did you think I will let you off the hook just because you completed the beret?” asks my brain. “Joke on you!”
Time to make better decisions to ensure that this unfinished projects shenanigans stops. So rummage through every unfinished projects’ basket in the house and sort the contents into 3 parts.
Anything you believe is worth your time, focus, and effort goes to the ‘Do’ desk. They must however go through Step 1 where you tell a beneficiary that you are going to do it. And Step 2, where you set the timeline to get it done by.
If there’s an unfinished project that interests you but you don’t want to work on it, that goes to the ‘Delegate’ desk. But again, you must find someone to do it and set a time limit for it.
Finally, anything that you are no longer attracted to; you were infatuated about it but have now interest on it goes to the land of the dead. The ‘Discard’ desk. This is the most difficult of the desks to handle because everything you start has some emotional attachment to it.
That doesn’t mean its going to be easy. Can you imagine throwing away the incomplete Rastafari shaggy mat because I will be cutting my dreadlocks tonight?
After all, its creation, and that of a few rasta-colored hairbands, originated from the dreadlocks. I see no other way to sustain the inspiration to continue working on it. Except the money aspect. I’m sure there’s a Jah-Soul somewhere who would take it for $25 or more!
But if you are keen, I’m sure Elsa will help you better…
Finish Your Unfinished Business
Are there any incomplete projects in your home today?
A book you started reading but your phone beeped and chatting on WhatsApp took over till today.
A drawer you have been meaning to sort because you believe there is something good inside but every time you open it, its fullness threatens to steal your entire day off.
The pair of summer sandals you put in a bag to take to the cobbler for mending but can’t picture yourself bracing the day’s heat on a Saturday afternoon. Funny how you later endure an uncomfortable shoe as you go to the beach.
You can give all sorts of excuses for not completing whatever it is you have at hand, to everyone around you and fool them. But you can’t fool your self-confidence. You can’t even fool your subconscious mind into believing that you are capable of doing the next related project if you didn’t complete its predecessors. Somehow, the two have a way of using such as a reference point.
And since like me you have made a habit of not completing what you start, soon, there will be a whole pile of unfinished jobs staring at you. The heap of shame!
Again whatever you leave in the incomplete status occupies the space for your next project.
Think about it, if I had completed the beret, I would have written a different article altogether. One with adequate bragging rights of a beret maker. I know for sure I would have won the hearts of several people who hate combing their hair. The next beret would have made me money.
Stupid. Stupid. Stupid!
And you know what? This is professional blackmail by the unfinished projects in your closet is happening to you too.
So save yourself the agony. You need the self-confidence for the next project. You need the next project and the pride attached to its completion. You need that inward party and the brag-rights that come with completing something you started. But you must be willing to finish what you started.
Don’t just be a starter, be a doer and then a finisher of what you started. There’s power, pride and honor in going all the way. The goodies are always at the end of battling the unfinished projects into submission. You can do this baby!
I’m queen of unfinished business!
I need to follow your tips
Oh oh… Seems we are quite a number there.
Let’s get this ‘unfinished business’ party started.
I have the plan but not the grit😂. Going to work on it
Please do. Read the book, Grit by Angela Duckworth. It will help