Keeping myself going
A common problem amongst people of my mindset is they never finish a project unless it has an actual concrete deadline. And unless the agreement imposing said deadline also imposes routine maintenance, many of those projects get shelved shortly thereafter.
I have a problem that is similar is presentation but otherwise entirely different. I canít finish projects, deadlines or not, because I have serious motivational issues. Now before you start jumping to conclusions, itís not depression or anything weird like that. Iím totally happy, and Iím not stressed, not struggling with school (any further), relationships in life are all awesome. Literally, nothing to be torqued up about. I just canít finish things. I often sit down at my workstation and just kind of stare at it. Check my email a few times, write some notes down, maybe IM someone. Go to the bathroom, eat a snack, build an arkÖ.you know how it goes, anything but whats at hand. And itís not even that Iím not interested in it. I am actually more apt to do my homework than my personal projects, now tell me that isnít weirdÖ
So, Iíve of course analyzed this to death and I think Iíve got a few leads on the cause:
- Diminishing returns, the projects get steadily complicated until it becomes an uphill battle to progress, and the frustration and lack of progress makes me not want to keep trying it, even though itís still interesting
- Fear of ďbigĒ steps in the development cycle, worried itís going to consume my entire day and not get finished.
- Fear of failure, as long as I can recite my planned work in my head, I feel like Iím smart and have a handle on it, itís kind of ego-deflating to get stuck, which is a common occurrence when my projects leave the (relatively small) realm of my personal skills.
So, hereís what I got for combating it:
- Donít work alone, cause I know I feel damned stupid staring at it doing nothing with someone watching me. Even if the person comes along just to watch me and not help me, itís still better than being alone. I donít feel so welcome to procrastinate with someone watching me.
- Do it in discrete chunks and when theyíre done, stop. Get the LCD wired up. Stop there, eat a snack, then move on to next item at convenient pace. The chunking seems most effective, because I can go on little spurts of motivation to complete the project. Though it seems to be terribly impairing the speed at which I work.
- Read as much as I can before doing it, so I am as familiar as I can be, with a good plan for how to proceed. Making sure to have all available parts is nice, it also prevents me from half-assing other parts of the projects
- Start early in the day so I can build up momentum without running out of time.