It would be nice if we could just come up with ideas and code them up in their entirety the same day. But some projects require a lot more than a few hours worth of coding. They drag on and you have to fight for the time to work on them. After a while, passion for the concept isn’t enough to keep driving you forward.
Enthusiasm just isn’t enough to get every project off the ground. But there are steps you can take to help you to keep move forward.
Don’t Go it Alone
When you’re on your own, it’s always harder to get something done. The concept of ego depletion tells us that, as individuals, we have only a set amount of willpower to accomplish anything. We have to choose what we are going to do and most of us base those choices on having to keep someone else from being disappointed in us. That means that a personal project will often lose out to everything else. But the moment that you have some sort of responsibility to show another person what you’ve accomplished, it moves up the priority list.
Having a co-founder can be crucial to a startup, especially in terms of being able to get everything done in a timely manner. But you don’t absolutely have to have a partner to motivate you — just having someone to talk through your project with regularly can help.
Creating New Enthusiasm
If it’s driving you crazy to even open up the file for a project, it’s not going to get done, no matter what other steps you take to make it a success. You have to figure out how to refill the well, so to speak — you need a way to remind yourself of what got you excited about this idea in the first place.
Personally, I tend to write out notes at the beginning of a project about why that particular project is something worth doing. I’ve learned the hard way that I’ll get bored at some point and want to jettison the whole thing. But if I can take a break from it and then come back to some sort of reminder about just what is so cool about about what I want to put together, then I can get myself excited again.
There’s no one true solution to building new enthusiasm. If you’ve been working in development for a while, though, you may know a lot about what motivates you during big projects. You can figure out if you need to reward yourself, set more concrete deadlines or something else entirely.
Image by Flickr user Wetsun