Productivity and GTD

11 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Give Up

AUTHOR: Francisco Sáez
“Your victory is right around the corner. Never give up.” ~ Nicki Minaj, singer

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There are times when a project is choking you. It happens. If it comes to a professional project, normally you do everything possible to continue and make it come to fruition, either not to lose a business opportunity, or your job.

If the project is personal, however, and since you don’t have the same pressure, there is a great possibility that you end up leaving it. After all, the only damaged party would be you, and that’s more manageable and easier to justify.

When you realize that your side project is beginning to tumble down, ask yourself these questions before deciding whether to abandon it definitely, keep it on hold or continue with it despite everything:

1. What is your cause?

Relax and remember why you started working on this project and why you were so excited at the beginning. Reconsider the need for the project. Have you changed your goals or have other circumstances arisen in your life so that you cannot see what is important? Be honest with yourself. If you changed your vision on life, it can be very reasonable to abandon that project. But if you do it for the wrong reason, you’ll regret it in the future.

An important cause is the largest source of motivation you may have. If you indeed have one, write it down and put it in a visible place.

2. What is the real problem?

Has really the project become a problem, or is it a project task that is giving you trouble? Detect and isolate the problem. You can use the five whys technique for that.

3. Do you need help?

Have you reached a complicated point and you’re not sure how to continue? Search for information. Get familiar with it. Look for people who have already been there. Search the internet, search the social networks. Do not be afraid to ask, people like to help and feel useful. Also, consider paying for the service you need. If you do not know the people who can help you, surely you know someone who can introduce you to them.

4. Do you need motivation?

Search for allies. Share your project with other people; they’ll go asking you occasionally about how it is going, and that will keep you motivated. They’ll have expectations and you’ll want to meet them. Surround yourself with the proper, positive and motivated people. Also, make sure you follow these tips to stay motivated.

5. Are there people around you that discourage you to continue?

Don’t let others put you at disadvantage. You don’t have to talk about everything with everyone. Avoid talking about your project with those who do not contribute at all and talk often with the people who help you keep your motivation high.

6. Are you sabotaging yourself?

Are you telling yourself things like “I can’t do that”, “it’s too complicated”, “nothing will happen if I let it go”? Do not put yourself at disadvantage. You have to kill that little voice that sabotages you. Remove the “I can’t” phrase from your vocabulary. Of course you can.

7. Are you afraid?

Are you afraid to failure? Or are you afraid of success? Face your fear and transform it into motivation. Think honestly about it, and you’ll see that the truth is far less dramatic when it comes out. Don’t let fear stop you from doing things, because that is a dynamic that can influence your whole life. What’s the worst thing that could happen?

8. Are your willpower failing?

No matter how much fulfilling you find a job, you will always experience moments in which you will feel less enthusiastic. Everyone has these moments and they are not a reason to leave, but to strengthen your will. Control your doubts. Remember that willpower is a limited resource. It acts as a muscle and, if you do not exercise it, it becomes weak. On the contrary, the more you use it, the stronger it will be.

9. Are you doing nothing?

Then take one more step. Do not think about the entire project or the potential obstacles you will find along the way. Focus on doing something. You’re probably overthinking. If there is a real problem, you will only realize its true extent working on it.

10. Are you measuring your progress?

If it isn’t that way, define and develop the project with any software application that allows you to see what you’ve done, what’s left to do and how you are progressing. You can also use paper and pencil, but make sure you have a clear view of the whole scenario at all times. You will always want to nurture something you see that it is growing because of you.

11. Are you working regularly?

Do not stop working in your project for long periods of time. Yes, I know that you have many things to do, but think that long breaks lead to procrastination, and procrastination leads to abandonment. Use reminders not to be more than two or three days without advancing. If one day you can only work for 15 minutes, it doesn’t matter, do it!

And finally, embrace the pain. Working is hard, and a side project is additional work. If it were easy, there would be more people doing great things. If you want to make a difference, you have to overcome that. If you love what you do, giving up is never an option. Yes, sometimes it can be frustrating, but you have to know how to deal with this frustration.

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