How to Focus So You Can Complete Your Projects

I’m currently redecorating my home.  I felt like I needed a refresh, so I ordered new furniture, bedding, artwork, pillows…you get the picture.  Along with that, comes the DIY projects.  I discovered for those of us who pin and do DIY projects, we tend to be a little ADD when it comes to these projects because we have all of these things we want to do all at the same time.  We start a project, put it down after we grow tired it’s taking too long to complete and then start another project.  Press REPEAT many times.

What we end up with are several DIY projects that sit incomplete for years.  I say ‘years’ because I spoke to a few other DIYers and we thought back to the last time we worked on our last incomplete DIY project. YEARS was the adequate term, not months.

DIYers tend to be a little ADD when it comes to their projects.

My friend pointed out that I tackle my ADD issues with DIY a little differently than most.  I actually tackle the ADD issue altogether.  Here’s how I do it:

Keep a journal.

Since I am organizing everything in my life, I keep a journal as I’m going through the book “One Year to an Organized Life.”  Not only do I keep all of my organizational goals in this journal, but I also write down all of the DIY projects I’d like to do and decide which project comes first.  As I find new projects to do, I continue to write down each one in the journal.  I’ll look over the list and then decide which one to tackle next.  It may take a couple of weeks to complete a project, but working on the current project and not moving onto the next one forces me to focus on the current project.

storage box4FOCUS.

Focusing is really important, because I can start a project, start thinking about the dishes that need to be washed, the meals to prep for the blog, and other chores and errands I need to do.  There are many times I catch myself walking away from the project to wash the dishes.  I’ve actually stopped at the sink and made myself turn back around so that I can complete what I was doing right before that.

If I don’t FOCUS on what I am working on, then I’ll forget all about it.  When your mind starts to wander and you start thinking about all of the things you need (or would like) to do, it will prevent you from finishing your task.  Instead, take out a sheet of paper and write down everything you need to do.  It gets those thoughts out of your head.  After it is committed to paper, go back to your project.  You are more likely to finish the project in front of you now that you have your TO DO list out of your head and onto a sheet of paper.

Don’t Overwhelm Yourself.

The other day I picked up some materials for a DIY calendar and a few travel journals.  The day before that, I started an art project for my gallery wall.  I was so excited that I had all of these cool new projects to work on, I started working on ALL OF THEM all at once.
AmericanMade4Needless to say, none of them are completed.  I started them all, but then realized the ADD was taking over.  I put them all neatly to the side and went back to what was supposed to be the current project: building the space saver for the bathroom.

I added the calendar and the journals to my DIY list so I would stop thinking about it.  Getting excited over a new project(s) can become overwhelming when you have multiple ones already in the queue.  You just want all of them to be done 10 minutes ago so you can go to the next project.  You’ll never get anything done when you go from one project to the next without completing the current one.  You have to take it ONE PROJECT AT A TIME.

Don’t Give Yourself Unreasonable Time Constraints.

Be realistic with yourself.  When I first put the ladder for the bathroom together, I thought I’d have it done in 2-3 days.  I built it in one evening, but painting it took two weeks to complete.  Getting it done in 2-3 days was unreasonable because the ladder required time for the paint to dry on each side.

Be reasonable with your time.  If you don’t want the project to stress you out, give yourself plenty of time to complete the project.  DIY projects are supposed to be a relaxing time where YOU CAN BE CREATIVE.  It’s like a hobby.  You don’t rush yourself to complete your hobby.  You take your time so you can enjoy every single moment of the creative process.  Creativity cannot be rushed!

******

Keeping a journal with a list of everything I need to do has been a godsend.  Without it, I would probably have 100 incomplete projects around the house and only one completed task.  It’s nice to take a look at what I need to do and plan out which projects are the highest priority and which to do after I’ve completed my current project.

Don’t overwhelm yourself with all of these ideas of projects you’d like to do.  ONE PROJECT AT A TIME!  You don’t want to be one of those DIYers that starts a project and then never completes them for years!  Try to minimize your clutter by actually finishing the project before starting a new one.

If you’ve already got 15 projects that were already abandoned, go back and finish each one before starting the latest DIY project.  You’ll thank yourself in the end for completing the task at hand.

About Michelle Kenneth

Michelle Kenneth has been a member of the NHL credentialed media covering the New Jersey Devils since 2008 for Inside Hockey. She is the owner or PerfectionistWannabe.com.