Think of your big project as a new hobby
Do you have a big project you’ve been putting off?
Is it because you are waiting for the perfect time to devote your entire self to getting it done?
If you try to do too much at once, you risk getting overwhelmed and exhausted. Chances are you’ll get discouraged, go away, and never come back to it.
Got a big project? The more often you do something, the easier it gets. And hobbies are fun! So, try thinking of it as a new hobby. Click To Tweet
It’s pretty easy to do fun projects like artwork, if you are an artist. Or, to read 50 books this year if you are an avid reader. But if decluttering your home doesn’t sound like fun (especially if there’s a big backlog), well, that can be daunting. Or, let’s say you want to organize your photos, but they are scattered everywhere and you don’t know where to start. Or, maybe it’s a project that is simultaneously fun AND overwhelming, like writing a book — ask me how I know!
Then there are projects that are truly never-ending, like genealogy research. There are always more branches to climb in your family tree!
Hobbies are fun!
So, here’s the thing: The more often you do something, the easier it gets.
And hobbies are, by definition, fun.
So, why not think of your big project as a new hobby?
Even fun new hobbies require that you learn new skills, and set aside time to practice them. The scheduling of regular time could be considered a new habit in and of itself, ala one of my favorite Zen proverbs:
Creating a habit is like walking through deep snow. At first it is really hard. But each time you walk that path, it gets easier. Eventually, it is easier to walk that path than to break a new one.
The more small, regular amounts of time you schedule for practicing your new skill, and for reaching your new goal, the more enjoyable it will become. For example, musicians often practice their instruments for an hour each day. They know that If they played for six hours one day and not again for three months, they would not make steady progress. If you work… er, enjoy your new hobby for a six hours this week, and not again for a three months, you will forget where you left off and it will seem hard again.
Make it easier
Here are some other things you can do to make it easier to complete a big project:
- Break it down into smaller, more do-able steps.
- Schedule regular time to work on it.
- Experiment with choosing the best time of day to work on it.
- Get clear about why you’re doing it.
- Use the right tools for the job.
- Find someone else to work with, either in person or virtually, ala Julie Bestry’s (aka Paper Doll’s) two recent posts about body-doubling.
- Ask for volunteer help, an accountability partner, or professional expertise if you need to.
I’ve been writing a lot lately about big, but also potentially fun, projects that can seem daunting.
My 2021 book, What’s a Photo Without the Story? How to Create Your Family Legacy, is about telling the stories of your photos, family, and things. There’s no right or wrong way to do it, and I offer suggestions according to your choice of low effort, medium effort, or high effort. And, as I wrote:
You don’t have to do all the things! And you certainly don’t have to do them all at once. You will enjoy the journey more if you take it a step at a time. Think of it as a new hobby, rather than a one-and-done event.
In my 2023 book, Go With the Flow! The Clutter Flow Chart Workbook, I wrote something similar:
The decluttering process will be more fun if you treat it like a new habit, or even a new hobby. If you’re doing it on your own it might take a while, so do a little at a time and schedule regular decluttering sessions with yourself.
So, try thinking of your big project as a new hobby.
Because if you don’t enjoy it; and if you can’t make it more fun, or delegate it; and if you can’t even remember why you are doing it; you might want to re-think doing it at all.
What are YOUR thoughts?
Let us know in the comments below!
Copyright 2023 by Hazel Thornton, Organized for Life and Beyond
Hazel is an author, family historian, and retired residential organizer.
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