Making progress when time isn’t the issue

Moving forward on a stalled project.

Image courtesy of Eric Rothermel via Unsplash

May has been a productive month for me. I’ve knocked several projects off my list and developed a few new habits that will help me be more efficient. But there are still some stalled projects that I just can’t seem to finish.

The other day I put time for one of those projects on my calendar thinking I would finally get it done. Instead I cleaned out our coat closet and spent an hour organizing hats, mittens, and scarves — in May.

So why did I do a low reward, low priority project instead of something I’ve been wanting to do for a while?

The project I keep putting off is taking my Dylan Cold thriller series wide (to eBook platforms beyond Kindle). Since I published my sci-fi series, The Seamus Chronicles, wide I’ve noticed a nice uptick in overall sales. So there is incentive for me to complete this project.

Releasing an eBook on new platforms is not as much work as writing a novel, but there is some work for me to do. I am lucky to have some amazing readers. They share feedback and catch mistakes that I can easily fix so I have some edits that need doing. I also need to make sure that any links in the books go back to my website and not a specific vendor. Plus whenever I port a book to a new format I find some issues that I missed the first time and fixing them can be tedious.

What I didn’t have is a decision on the very next step. I had no idea what action I would take when that block of time came up on my calendar, instead of working I avoided it.

So I asked myself, what is the very next step to move this project forward? And I wrote down the answer — edit the source file. Then I asked myself, why are you avoiding this task? The answer surprised me — because I need to create new landing pages on my website.

Landing pages on my website are blocking me from releasing my books on multiple platforms. I already had the landing pages project on my radar and it will be done soon, good news. Once that’s complete I know the first action to take when I work on the book project, so I’ve scheduled that too.

After I figured this out for my books I did the same exercise for several other stalled projects on my list. What’s the next task, why am I avoiding it? It really helped to identify some blocking issues that weren’t obvious on the surface.

Scheduling time to work on a project and knowing the next task to complete are not the same as getting them done. But it’s a better start than where I used to be. I think it will be key to finishing things and keeping my fascination with bright shiny objects moderately under control.

Now instead of seeing a long idle project on my To-Do list and thinking “Ugh, why I can’t I just finish that?” I ask my self, what’s next and why have I been avoiding it?


I have a goal to write a post on Medium every day for the month of May, this is a big change for me. My focus is on how we can adapt and drive the changes we want to see in our lives. I hope you’ll come along for the ride.

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