The Simple Secret to Finishing More of the Projects You Start

by | Productivity Advice, Projects & Processes | 13 comments

Let’s start with some math here. When you look at all the memory keeping projects you started over the last year, how many are finished? Now, what’s that as a percentage?

For most of us, however, that percentage is less than 100%.

Last week we discussed some of the reasons why scrapbook projects don’t get finished. This post will continue that conversation, sharing a simple approach you can use to finish more of the projects you start.

How to Finish More of What You Start

It would be too easy and too simplistic to suggest that you start fewer projects. In fact, I have found that my motivation took a nose-dive when I deliberately and drastically cut back on the projects I was starting.

I believe we need that special energy that comes from something new. We just also need to balance that desire with real action and actual finishing.

So what’s the secret?

The secret to finishing more of the projects you start is starting more projects that you can finish. Ooh, that’s a mouthful! In other words, start projects that are finishable.

Starting more projects you can finish is not about choosing only projects that don’t take a lot of time or effort to complete. Finishable projects feel joyful and easy to you from beginning to end, no matter how detailed.

You may have noticed that I don’t teach a lot of project classes, where I have you follow a specific plan. That’s because I deeply believe that your plan is the best one.

When you customize a project to your unique skills and preferences, it immediately becomes more finishable. Here are some questions to ask yourself when planning a new project or evaluating next steps on an unfinished one:

  • Does this fit me or am I trend-following?
  • How much time do I really have?
  • Do I genuinely want to make this?
  • Could I be just as satisfied with less?

It doesn’t take a lot of time to pause and consider answer these questions. In fact, this exercise might save you considerable time (and stress) in the long run.

Do any of these questions pop out as something you need to ask yourself more? Leave a comment sharing your reaction.

Did you find this post helpful?

We believe simple is not how your page looks, but how your scrapbooking hobby works. We have a free workshop called SPARKED and it is the best way to learn more about Simple Scrapper and start creating consistently.


  1. Rhonda H

    The two items on this list that resonate with me are “How much time do I have?” (less than I think), and “Can I be just as satisfied with less?” Since I can be satisfied with “less”, I probably have enough time to complete it. Just have to keep this in mind while I create. I tend to be an elaborate scrapper, but still like classic scrapbooking, so…Thanks for these articles. They are helping me see what I can do.

    • Jennifer Wilson

      So glad this series is helpful to you Rhonda!

  2. Honoré

    I truly have ALL the time I need and I am super accomplished at starting new projects. I am thinking that they fall into the UFO stack for all the reasons listed in the previous post…and maybe becuz I don’t really have a plan, just desire… working on changing this. Thanks for the ideas and encouragement and giving us some deep thinking inspiration.

    • Jennifer Wilson

      I love how you put a positive spin on being a fantastic starter.. and that you’ve identified that time really isn’t an issue. I think looking deeper into motivations will help you do more finishing.

  3. Libby Wiers

    I need to learn to more accurately assess the time I have vs. the time a project will take. Also, not to jump into every new class/project that comes along. I need to recognize that I can’t to everything!!

    • Jennifer Wilson

      Letting go of doing it all has been hard for me too Libby, but it gets easier the more you practice!

  4. Diane

    First I wanted to say that I really enjoyed this post. It was very thought provoking.
    The whole concept of time vs. amount. I think that is why I am just not that into project life, it feels a little like tweeting, (not sure if that’s the word); I don’t think it is necessary to document every moment of my life. I want to spend time on the best and worst moments and document those…the ones that have meant the most to me and my family.

    I try not to trend follow, and I do put more time and thought into the stories that I do want to document. I have, just this moment, decided that the stories I do finish will be just fine. It may not be everything I want to tell, but the stories I do tell will mean more in the long run.

    And should you think that I don’t agree with you that we should mingle in some of the smaller projects that I/we can finish with the larger ones, don’t. I still agree that you need those smaller projects to jump start creativity and just because it give you a rest periodically from what you were working so hard on.

    Thanks for a well written and thought out post! I think this one will go into my inspiration file – it deserves to be kept and referred to often!

    • Jennifer Wilson

      Thank you for the kind words Diane! I think it’s awesome that you’ve connected decisions you’ve already made to this rationale. Understanding why you’re making choices – even the great ones – goes far to support your process in the future.

  5. Cathy

    Oooops, I read your ‘poster’ as ‘The secret to finishing more of the projects you start is starting more projects THAN (instead of ‘that’) you can finish’ and wondered how that was going to help Lol!
    Now I have my glasses on, it makes MUCH more sense, and I think I’ll be printing out and framing your four questions so I can keep them in mind!

    • Jennifer Wilson

      Glasses do help so much! So glad these questions are useful to you.

  6. Cathy

    Ps. And also considering the four questions before I sign up for any more classes

  7. Kathleen S

    I enjoyed your post Diane because I’m in your boat! I chose projects that have to do with family and family history, rather than chronology, as such. I tried the week in a life route, twice, and ended up with two pages that delighted me. One of a visit with my daughter and grandson, and one of my son and grand twins at the ice skating rink. One of the things Jennifer has helped me do is to be comfortable with my style, and trust it. I don’t try to follow the latest trend, just identify what I like and would incorporate into my projects. No doilies yet, Jennifer!

  8. Rachel

    Thank you for these chains of thoughts. I usually finish pages l start but not week long projects as my mind goes else where creatively. So l have decided no more online classes this year. ..I have among those already paid for inspiration for several years. Also Lack of time has been areal problem the last 12 months despite having a less busy schedule.thanks again for all your input.


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