Pin it Stumble google-plus

Unfinished Projects - Get’er done!


Published: 05/07/2013

by Hellen Buttigieg

How many half-finished projects are hanging around your home, cluttering rooms and taking up valuable storage space?

Most people have dozens.


We all have good intentions when we set aside broken jewellery to fix, clothing to mend, or pictures to add to that
scrapbook we’re going to finish … some day.

Have you ever gotten fired up and started a project, only to lose steam after the initial excitement wore off? We all have.


But these unfinished projects not only create physical clutter, they cause mental clutter. They add to your long list
of things to do, making you feel overwhelmed and defeated. Perhaps they lead to feelings of guilt anytime you see or think of them, because defeating thoughts drift into your mind … thoughts like “I shouldn’t have spent all that money” or “I wasted so much time on that.”


By following my proven formula, you’ll enjoy peace of mind and energy from tackling those abandoned projects.


1. Put a limit on it. There’s fantasy (“Someday I’ll find time to work on these”) and there’s reality (“I already have
too much to do”). Look at your schedule and determine how much time you can realistically devote to your unfinished projects. Then decide on the maximum number of them you can take on (perhaps between three and five).


2. Take a tally. Take an inventory of all your unfinished projects. Walk around the house with a pad of paper. Poke inside long-forgotten corners of closets and backs of dresser drawers. List each and every project you have abandoned.


3. Gain clarity. With a thick marker, transfer your list of unfinished projects to individual index cards, one project
per card. This step helps you get clear on the volume; it’s like the difference between writing a cheque versus physically counting cash.


4. Narrow it down. Spread out the cards and begin whittling them down to the number you chose in the first step.

Once you’ve done that, take a deep breath, and let the rest go. Release all the materials related to those projects by giving them away, recycling them or throwing them out. Feel the guilt (or any other emotion that comes up) and do it anyway.


Sometimes we get stuck here because we want to ensure that materials go where they’ll be used and appreciated,

but it takes time to find a good home. Give yourself a deadline (a few days to a week) to research; if nothing comes up, take them to your local charity drop-off centre and trust that they’ll end up in the right hands. Get them out of your house and out of your life as soon as possible.


5. Make time. Finally, block time on your calendar to work on undertaking the projects you have left. Commit to finishing these projects before taking on new ones. This will free you to complete the projects and give you time to truly enjoyworking on them.

 Once you have a plan to complete your inactive projects, you’ll immediately begin to feel lighter. You’ll make steady progress and, once you complete them, you’ll feel free.  


Hellen Buttigieg is a Certified Professional Organizer, life coach, TV personality, author and speaker. For details, visit



Browse by Category