Creating in Flow

The world of creativity—with a twist of rationality

5 Ways to Finish What You Start (and Why You Often Don't)

Surely we’ve all done it: start something new and then leave it unfinished. If it’s a frequent distressing pattern, here’s how you can deal with it. Read More

Excellent tips! I went

Excellent tips! I went through the first three. Then I stopped.

give reward to myself

in my case, I give reward for myself as my intrinsic motivation every time I make progress in my project.. it can be a cup of coffee or having free time :D

Intrinsic PLUS a touch of extrinsic

What you're doing is setting yourself a minor bonus for achieving any progress. Such a reward isn't the same as someone else offering you a cup of coffee for doing something. Personally, those little self-rewards don't work for me. I have to feel a sense of genuine accomplishment about the task itself that overcomes my desire to procrastinate. Of course, including coffee or a little time off in your schedule, to be allotted at certain pre-specified points, makes good sense.

5 ways to finish what you start

I am thinking of going back to university and do a master degree in an engineering field, I am facing a few dilemmas including my age (I'm in the middle of my forties, my family responsibilities (although my both children are grown up, they still live at home and I am caring fro my husband who is mentally disabled.) and my track record of academic studies ( a three years full time degree course which I undertook in my mid thirties took me about 8 years to complete on a part time basis). I feel that it is very much of an intrinsic will but I find it very difficult to come to a final decision which I have to make in a few days time. I feel that it would enable me to be more confident and lead a more prosperous life.
I appreciate it if Dr Perry or anybody else on this platform could comment on my scenario or advise me.

regards, Paria

You need help with this decision.

I would first of all suggest you consult with someone at the school you're considering attending. They would best know the amount of work you're going to be asked to do. A master's in engineering is sure to be a lot of work, but that doesn't mean you won't get through it and benefit in the long run.

Can you get your children to help out more at home while you're in school? I went back to school later in life too, and I've never regretted it (although it didn't pay off financially, only psychologically).

Try making a list of pros and cons. For every obstacle, can you brainstorm ways to overcome the negative and get past it?

Even if it takes you longer to complete your education than someone with fewer responsibilities, that time will pass nonetheless, with or without your fulfilling your dream.

Good luck!

Not sure if my situation fits in: The heavy last piece...

My issue is that when I'm close to the end of a project and just need to put the last piece in, and know how to do it. The project suddenly becomes overwhelmingly boring. The last piece weighs like at ton. Don't feel fear of not doing a perfect job and when I do finish a project I feel good about it. What I think makes it hard for med to finish the project, is that in my head I've already finished it, so why do I actually have to finish it... Know that that's totally irrational, but it happens again and again. A dead-line helps me doing the last bit, but it's painful and I dread it.

Now I'm working on a one month project that needs a one hour job to be finished, and I'm writing this....

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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist and author. Her current focus is on the creative aspects of rationality and atheism.


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