We all have those “someday” projects. The ones we’ll get to when we have the time or once something else happens first. Those projects that we really love and are passionate about, or would just make our lives easier, that never seem to be a top priority.
The question is… why do we procrastinate on these projects? Why not just get them done?
What would these someday projects do for us? Would they get us closer to our goals? Let us spend more time on our passions? Allow us to travel more? Or are they things that we know we should do but keep putting off?
What are “Someday” Projects?
There are so many projects that can fall into this category, such as:
- Traveling to a new place
- Learning new skills
- Getting closer to our goals
- Stuff we have to do but procrastinate on
- Other projects in our personal or professional lives
Regardless of what it may be specifically, the one thing all of these “someday” projects have in common is that everything else seems to come before them. There’s a number of reasons this could be but usually, it’s:
- A task we should do but don’t want to
- Something we want to do but don’t have time for
- Something we want to do but don’t have money for
- A large project that we don’t know how to start
Is This a Priority?
Before tackling those someday projects, the first thing to do is see if that project or those tasks are still priorities. Sometimes we plan on something but, as time goes by, lose interest in it. This can be a hobby that you were really excited about to begin with but lost interest in later. Or a book that you really wanted to read that sat on the shelf for years and doesn’t sound as exciting now. There’s nothing wrong with deciding that something you meant to do isn’t really something that you need to do anymore. If it doesn’t add value to your life some way, it’s ok to drop it off that to-do list and just focus on the ones that would add value.
Start Small But Start
As a huge procrastinator, I fully understand that the hardest part of doing anything is getting started. This applies to just about everything I do but these someday projects I want to do or should do always get it the worst.
For instance, this year I bought some new cloth shower curtains to put in our shower and bathtub. Since we have a clawfoot tub, I had to get two. Not really a big deal, right? The problem was that they were too long since the ceilings on the second floor are lower. I have a sewing machine set up and can sew well enough to make a straight line so I really had no excuse.
That still didn’t change the fact that it took me 5 months to finally sit down and hem the shower curtains. How much time did it take to do? Maybe 30 minutes tops, from the time I took them out of the package to the time they were hung up in the shower. That’s five months of moving two packages of shower curtains around from surface to surface, all while looking at the old ones in the shower that badly needed to be replaced every day.
Once I started that project, it didn’t take much to finish and then it was done. While the tendency to procrastinate is something I’ll probably always struggle with, I have learned some tips over the years:
The 2-Minute Rule
If it will take less than two minutes to do, just do it now. Hopefully, not many others struggle with this but I’d schedule these in my planner or come up with elaborate ways to put these off. These are silly tasks like responding to an email, refilling the cat food, starting the dishwasher, etc. I’d spend more time scheduling these tasks to do later than it took to just do it. If something is going to take less than two minutes to do, stop what you’re doing and do it right now.
David Allen introduced this rule in his book, Getting Things Done. If you’re curious about other advice and systems to help get more done, check out his book!
Set a Time Limit
If time is an issue, spend a little bit of time working towards that someday project. Even if it’s just 10-15 minutes every Sunday, that will get you 10-15 minutes closer every week. Plus, once you get started, you may find that you want to spend more time on that project. I use this technique a lot when I’m really struggling to start on something. Set a timer or even just make a note of the time on a clock and start going. Work for at least 10 minutes or however much time you decide you have to spend that day.
Break Big Things Down into Small Steps
If you have a large project on your someday list and don’t know where to start, break it down. Instead of looking at a life goal of traveling abroad as this huge project, break everything down into smaller pieces and do just one of those. This could be anything from deciding on a destination, setting a budget, decide when to travel, etc.
Again, looking at the Getting Things Done system, start with the “next action”. Once you have your project broken down into smaller, more manageable parts, look and see what the very next thing you can do on that list is.
Another example would be the goal of owning a house. There’s a lot that eventually goes into buying and owning a home but to start with, you can think about price, location, style, features, etc. The first step in this goal could be sitting down and doing a budget of your current finances to figure out how much of a mortgage you could afford.
Research is Free
If money is an issue at this moment, that doesn’t mean you need to put it off until later. Obviously, some projects or goals will require funds to complete but there’s nothing wrong with spending time researching and planning. Looking again at the travel example, even if you don’t have enough at this moment to afford the trip, that doesn’t mean you can’t see what’s out there, find out what destinations and airfare costs, and start planning a budget for that trip. Once you know the budget goal for a project, you can make a plan to reach that goal.
Keep Up The Momentum
Once you get started, don’t stop! Commit to a day every week or time every day to work on those someday projects, even if it’s only for 10 minutes. Make a commitment to yourself to invest time into those goals. This is an investment in your life and is always a priority!
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
Getting Things Done in 15 Minutes – A quick reference guide to Getting Things Done
GTD 101: The Beginner’s Guide to Getting Things Done – An overview of the system and how it works
How To Start (And Finish) Your Very Own 365 Day Project – An online course by Cynthia Koo on Skillshare