Are you a Project Hoarder? The 5 List Way to Focus your Energy

Posted on Posted in The Prolific Author


Are you a project hoarder?

Are there files of half-written stories stashed in boxes and drawers around your house in locations which you have carefully selected so that you don’t get depressed every time that you see them?

Ah.Ha. Yup. Me too.  And I am not just talking about work here.

We are curious and creative people with interests and hobbies and passions and lives. It is not surprising that we have so many ideas that it would take a lifetime to exhaust the possibilities.

Perhaps you should write that eBook about collecting vintage postcards of Victorian London, or dolls house furniture, or type 2 diabetes, or rearing chickens or your passion for TV shows or manga games or [insert your interest]….and perhaps you should write it. Perhaps your unique perspective could help other people who share your interest?

Except – there is a downside for being creative and curious and building up a list of ‘maybe I could projects’ – it totally drains both our emotional/positive energy and our physical energy.

So here is my 5 List Method to purge that Project List and Focus your Energy

 List 1. Make a list of the top 3 fun and inspirational projects that you would LOVE to do. Just the thought of working on those projects makes you smile and bubble with excitement and enthusiasm – in fact, you want to start working on them right now. Try and keep this to a maximum of your top inspirational 3 projects even though there are more out there. Career or personal. Write them down. Usually with big smiley faces.

List 2. Make a list of the 3 projects which you MUST complete for whatever reason. It could be a financial incentive, especially if you are writing to a deadline on a contract, or a personal reason. Either way, these are the must-do projects which you have committted to in some way, especially to yourself. Write down the date when these 3 projects must be completed by.

Of course it could be one large project which will take all of your time, but try breaking it down into 3 phases. They may be the same as List One! Excellent!

Every other project has to be put on hold.  You are only allowed 3 initiatives at most.

List 3. Take out a diary or print out an online calendar for the next few months, or simply take a piece of paper and write down the deadlines for everything that is on List Two in date order. For example, if you plan to deliver your manuscript or self-publish your novel before the start of the summer holidays, then the deadline for that project would probably be early July. The next project could be to finish decluttering your home before you move house in June. And you want to finish your draft book in another genre in time for the RNA New Writers Scheme – end August latest.

So you could have deadline dates in June, July and August. Let’s say that it is the next 12 weeks.

List 4. Now comes the tough love. For each of these 12 weeks, work out how much time you have in your life to give to those three must-do projects in Lists 2 and 3.

Be totally honest. If it is an average of three hours a day if you don’t watch TV and intend to sleep at some time and have a life over the summer months, then it is three hours a day. Block out summer vacations, weekend activities and family plans on that 12 week calendar, so that you know when you simply won’t have 3 hours a day – you may have one hour or none at all.

June – you must clear your house. Can you do it AND allocate time to finish writing that book which is due in early July.

How long do you need to spend over July to finish that critique draft. Is it doable?

If not, now is the time to ask for help on the decluttering project to make sure that you deliver your work AND that manuscript is your best work, not rushed or unedited.

List 5. Pick up your 12 week diary again and select ONE of your dream projects from List One and slot it in at the end of each of your 3 projects on your 12 week work plan, as your personal reward to yourself.

You are allowed one complete weekend to work on your dream project for fun, every time your complete each of these must-do projects.

If the 3 must-dos are the same as your dream projects, you are a star! In that case you are allowed to choose another would-love-to do project. If it is super-short then you may be able to finish that project in 3 weekends!

The idea is that these List 1 Projects act as energising fuel to your drive and break up the work.

The result? At the end of your plan, you will have worked through all of your 3 must-do projects and hopefully at least one love-to-do project to keep you energised and motivated.

Are you ready to give it a try?




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