Starting a project is easy

Updated: December 18, 2012

When talking about working and productivity in general the phrase “Getting started is the hardest part” gets passed around a lot. I think when it comes to individual tasks it’s very true. Once you start up a task you didn’t particularly feel up to it suddenly gets much easier to follow it through and get it done.

The place where getting started is not the hardest part (for me at least) is when starting a brand new project. That part’s easy. When you come up with something cool it’s actually very easy to go after it with a lot of drive and enthusiasm. It then over time gets a little harder to keep pushing it to be successful, and in some twist that makes no sense at all; work starts to get hardest when the project starts to show real signs of success, viability or progress. I don’t know whether to pin the blame on new ideas competing for my attention, running low on steam, losing motivation or whatever else. It’s as if once I’ve proven to myself that what I’m doing is a good idea I decide I’m done with it and need to branch into something new. As if the project is somehow finished and successful once it looks like it would be successful if I finished it.

I’ve observed myself fall into this trap time and time again. The early work on a project doesn’t count as real work. It’s too fun to be work and that cheat is really the secret that makes me look like I’m a genuinely hard worker. I’m not. I’m driven entirely by my own enthusiasm for the project and when it runs out I’m done.

I’ve made a point of not starting new projects now that I have so many well-performing projects on the go. But I’ve seen myself falling into a trap all the same. The past few days have been tragically unproductive for no good reason at all. I’ve thought that maybe it comes from a feeling of ‘working too hard’ or needing a rest but it just doesn’t sit right with me. I can’t feel good relaxing or messing about with games because I still feel guilty about the lack of work. I think I’m right to be. I think if I genuinely work hard enough I’ll feel justified to give myself a break from it. I just need to remind myself why I’m doing the things I’m doing and recapture the enthusiasm that was there before. I know it’s all still there I just seem to be very good at losing track of long term goals.

I’d be a fool to fall at such an early hurdle, but it’s starting to become clear why so many do. Why some of the lofty goals I’m setting for myself are ones that anyone could technically reach, but that only a tiny fraction do. It’s about time I made the choice to be one of them.

That all said, during my productivity-demise at least my youtube project ‘Making Games’ has been passively progressing without any input from me. I’m up 200 subscribers since the first video I put out and I’m starting to show up on searches for “game maker” and “game maker tutorials” which is fantastic news. More updates on this when the next few vids go up.