In Friday’s post I talked about motivation being created by projects asking small questions, about what we can accomplish as we work through them, and a big question of whether we can create what we set out to achieve. Over the weekend I considered the list of unfinished projects I drew up for the procrastination boot camp, the challenges they posed and what questions they asked me.
Conversely the knitted slippers answered the big question too soon – I knew I could finish them as soon as the knitting part was finished, so I gave up before I had sewn them together.
The Bethlehem star block had been a real challenge to make, but once I had finished it, I knew it would be easy to turn it into a cushion. Once more, the big question, Could I make this? was answered too soon. So the block is still waiting to become a cushion.
Even worse than no longer finding a project challenging, I never considered the curtain tiebacks a challenge – just a chore to save money. So they never posed any questions.
These first four projects underline the idea that motivation is strong if a project has a mixture of small challenges and an uncertainty about the final outcome that remains until the very end. However, the patchwork block, the cross stitch project and the short story all posed small questions about completing/creating individual parts of them and asked the big question, Can I complete this? Yet, I had still abandoned them.
Reflecting on these three projects, I recognise they had one thing in common with all the projects on my boot camp procrastination list; prior to drawing up the list, I believed I had no real need to complete them. However, since I took the boot camp approach, I have completed the blinds and the slippers, despite their lack of creative challenge. Nothing about these two projects themselves changed when I created the list. What changed was that creating the list told me I needed to finish them, because they were sapping my creative energy. In other words, my need to reclaim my creative energy was more influential than the creative challenge they, or any other projects on the list, offered me.
If you made a boot camp list, but haven’t worked on any of the projects on it, ask:
What are the reasons I made this list?
If there isn’t an obvious reason you need to finish, can you find a different perspective that shows you really do need to finish?