How To Keep Up momentum On Your Projects

04/01/2017 11:02 | Updated 04 January 2017

I've identified some major obstacles to keeping up momentum on projects. Here are a couple of things you can try, which have worked for me.

1. Limit length not quality

Experiencing explosive creativity in every direction is one of the great things about living in these connected times. But just because we can, doesn't mean we should. Indeed, the trend with some creative projects now seems to be heading towards 'anthologies', and there's a 'quality over quantity' vibe starting to emerge.

We don't plan our productions online in the same way we would plan, say, a proper radio show or a book, we hurl ideas out there every day, every new day brings a new thought, and every thought must now be immediately shared. This happens in part because the internet media world is crowded, competitive, and heaped with glittering promise. On some level, we're always hoping the more we make and share, the more chance we have that our ideas will 'catch on' - that we'll be seen by the right influencer, or that the sheer volume and frequency of stuff will bring us various professional advantages. But increasingly, this is as (un)likely to happen online as it is in any other medium, it can lead to motivation-sapping resentment and exhaustion, and a very poor standard of work. This tactic, addictive as it is, might well not be worth it. Mostly, it is about fear of letting go. After all, if we don't keep all the plates spinning, they might smash, right?

Guys: if you're spinning that many, some of them are going to smash anyway.

Partly it's a fear of the competitors on our heels. If we stop, they'll take over. But if we don't stop and it's not earning us anything (money, audience or whatever else we hope for) it's costing us in many ways. It's likely our competitors sped past us months ago. It's a nonsense. There's really no logic to it. And I've been on both sides of this.

So, instead of making a podcast or a production or a regular blog with an unknown endpoint, why not start a project with a definite end-point - a series, a catalogue of whatever your media is, where every instalment really counts for something?

2. Enjoy controlling the failure

Here's a related idea. Think of your work as having a life cycle. There's an incubation period, a bit where it released into the world, a bit where it flourishes (hopefully) and a bit where it wanes, gets sick, or just runs out of time.

We tend to focus our involvement on the early stages, but the big secret is that you can control every part of your work's lifespan - even how it fails. A project can end for reasons other than uncontrollable catastrophe. It's your project, and to paraphrase the famous song, you change everything: how it lives and how it dies! It can change and end, not because of external mystery forces that we should be afraid of, but because you've decided to reallocate resources... a positive reason with positive implications for personal learning and management.

So this week think: what are you doing that's not working out? Is there something you can cut off, and positively reassign your energy, perhaps to another piece of work or working on a skill?

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