Recursive Leadership

How I Get Nothing Done and You Can, Too!

August 01, 2020

Like most people I have a long list of projects, ideas, and big plans that I would “like to do.” I’ve always had a long list, and most of these projects have never been done. Most of them were barely even started. Honestly, most of them deserved to be deferred, cancelled or abandoned. They were ideas that were fun to entertain, but difficult, if not impossible, to implement. Some creatives will develop systems to record and catalog their dreams and fantasies. They then peruse them periodically, modify and enhance them, then file them away again. A few dreams do get polished to finished products and released to the world. This very blog you’re reading is one of my dreams turned finished product. I’m embarking on a journey to discover more of my dreams and fantasies that have potential. After I’ve identified them, I want to make them into realities.

I recently decided to categorize and map the current projects floating around in my head. I was shocked to discover the breadth and variety of these projects. Here’s a picture of that map.

Map of Jon's Projects

There are 21 different projects on this page. This only lists projects outside of my day job and home responsibilities. There’s absolutely no way that I can attack these all at the same time.

Everyone needs at least one passion project, something that they create just because they want to learn and grow and create something they love. But I’ll say it again: most of our ideas deserve to be discarded, filed away and forgotten. If only it were not so. damn. difficult.

But why is it so difficult? It’s difficult in different ways for different people. I’m going to share with you my difficulties. Many of them are the same ones you face, and others are not. I’m certain you face difficulties I don’t. So please, try these ideas out and see what works for you; discard the ideas that don’t. If you have other ideas that I haven’t mentioned, share them with me and others. We all have beautiful ideas that could make the world a better place, that need to be released and shared. If you are more of a creative dreamer like me, this advice will probably be useful to you. So while the rest of this post is worded more directly, I am not an authority and you need not “respect my authoritay”. Consider these posts about project follow-through an invitation to engage, argue, share, and sharpen one another.

Here’s what I’ve learned about seeing ideas through to completion:

  • FOCUS: Come up with a system that helps you prioritize what is both important and urgent so you can FOCUS on the right things. For example: today I write my blog, tomorrow I do my laundry.
  • MOTIVE: Take a hard look at WHY you are doing some of the things that you are doing and be brutally honest with yourself. Unhealthy motives can capsize any project.
  • SACRIFICE: You’ll need to give up on some of your ideas, at least temporarily. This is the twin sister of FOCUS, and she’s not the bitch you heard that she was.

Focus, motive, and sacrifice are tools to decide WHAT to do and review what we HAVE DONE at the strategic level. In a second series of posts, I’ll follow up to discuss HOW to get things done at a tactical level. I look forward to discussing these with you in the coming weeks.

In the mean time, please feel free to share in the comments how you feel about the projects and ideas you have or haven’t completed, and what’s holding you back or pushing you forward.

Jon Roberts

Written by Jon Roberts who lives and works in San Antonio building useful things. You can be notified of new posts by following him onTwitter