I get it. You're busy. Maybe you have a family, maybe you don't. Maybe you spend too many hours at the office, and volunteer for those extra projects that end up with thankless overtime, forgetting (or likely, not) that you're on salary and not by the hour. And then you get home and the last thing you want to think about is being productive. But you feel guilty and mad at yourself. How am I ever going to finish these projects when I'm tired, busy, unmotivated...? I get it.
Here are some of the reasons why your projects are going nowhere.
- You haven't prioritized yourself. Do you want to work for someone else forever? Will you be happy simply cutting a paycheck from a company for the rest or your life, or do you need to finally step out on your own? If it's truly important to you to gain that independence, you need to prioritize it. Not just with your spouse, your family, your extracurricular commitments - with yourself. Reserve some time to sit, think, and write down the reasons that you want to invent, innovate, and go into business for yourself. It will help put things into perspective and get you excited about it.
- You haven't planned. Many of us spend hours doing rigorous planning at work, as even the most Agile projects require targets. But when it comes to our own ideas, we're happy to waffle along, bit by bit (sometimes literally), and waste lots of time by not having a goal. The only way to keep ourselves on task it by proper planning, milestones, and deadlines. Do it for yourself just like you would for that important project at work. Think about getting some project management training, like this practical course from CPD aimed at engineers.
- You let everything else get in the way. Other things will try and grab your attention. There will always be a new crisis at home or at work. But if you've properly prioritized and planned, you can adapt and handle these as they happen, without sacrificing your core targets and milestones. But you have to have those milestones in the first place in order to stay accountable to them.
- You've overestimated your capability. I know, we don't want to hear this one, but we do it all the time. You've planned your project, but you've given yourself precious little time to skill up on the things you don't know. You assume they'll be easy, whether you're a mechie that needs to learn to program PLCs or a software engineer that just bought some tools and figures milling aluminum can't be that hard. Either give yourself a wider berth and build in some education and trial/error time, or use a site like this one to supplement your own resourcefulness with some others that can help you along.
- You're a starter, not a finisher. I wish this one didn't apply to me so much, but sometimes I have the attention span of a chipmunk. Half-finished pieces of this and that lying around (physically or virtually) everywhere. There isn't much to be done here except not allowing yourself to start on that next big thing until the current big thing is done.
Now get out there and finish...anything!