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After several days weeks of worry about the car, I am hopefully getting closer to  having a vehicle that no longer makes me call my father in a panic on my way to work (“Such-and-such light just came on. What does that mean??!?”). Several parts have been replaced, which you can probably guess aren’t cheap, but the car is beginning to run a little better. There are still some suspicious noises and warning lights (which as of this last night I thought was completely out of the woods, but this morning another light came on), but hopefully we’ll get to the bottom of it by the end of the week. Of course, all the repair work meant that I had to cancel my holiday plans and I’ve been a little bummed about it, but a working vehicle was simply more important.

I’m trying to look on the bright side that not being able to go anywhere allows me more time to catch up on all of the projects I’ve been putting off. Especially those that feel like they are on the verge of entering the Unfinished Project Zone.

Oh, you’ve never heard of the UPZ? Basically, when I begin a new project, I have approximately two months (on average) to complete it before I lose my momentum, get distracted, and leave the project to be finished another day in favor of a newer project. It is at this point that it enters the UPZ – the Twilight Zone of projects that I had good intentions for, but will likely remain unfinished for months, years, or perhaps (and most likely of the three) forever.

Of course, I never actually mean for projects to be left behind… they just are sometimes. It’s a phenomenon that I seem powerless to control. I get excited about starting on something, work like a fiend, and for the most part, finish the project with a smile on my face and a big fat mental DONE stamp all over the end result.

But sometimes… the project just enters the abyss. It gets lost on the priority list in favor of the newest thing that I simply must do now. I have tons of holiday-related craft projects that end up like this. They’ll simply sit in a box until the following year, upon which time I may or may not be interested to pick it back up again . This time limit is not something I knowingly do on purpose, but it’s happened often enough to know where my own limitations lie. And that time limit seems to hover right around two months.

Right now, there are three items that I’m attempting to make progress on this week: the front stoop, the painted kitchen rug, and the chalk wall. The best part about all three is that I have enough supplies for each that I can make progress without spending money and without needing a car to get me to and from the home improvement store. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m going to actually finish anything, but it does mean that I’m picking the project back up again, which may give me just enough of a push to get it done… at some point. It may be wishful thinking and I could lose steam again, but that’s the nature with owning a home and literally doing it yourself – it’s all on one person’s shoulders, and that one person determines whether or not anything ever gets crossed off that massive to-do list.

Do you have a UPZ? Is your time limit longer or shorter than mine? Wish me luck!

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  1. Me? Start a project and not finish it? Never!

    Ha. It's actually not so much a time limit for me as it is getting past the “hard” part. Once I know I CAN finish a project, I'm not so compelled to figure it out and finish it. The blog helps though because things have to be done for a proper “after.”

  2. Wow! You just wrote the story of my life…I'm a UPG – Unfinished Project Girl! My time limit on a project varies depending on what's going on in my life at the time and the motivation level. This summer, to fix my UPG status, I reorganized everything, meaning all my to-do lists from work, to home, to my small side business into the One Note program on my computer. I'm slowly but surely checking things off the many, many lists I have!

  3. Oh boy, some of my UPZ items are over a year old.

    I recently decided to apply Dave Ramsey's debt snowball to my unfinished projects. The idea behind the debt snowball is paying off debts starting with the smallest and working up to the largest. Wiping out the smaller ones will start the ball rolling and get you motivated to attack the larger ones.

    For the Project Snowball, I'm working through my UPZ, starting with the projects that will take the least effort to complete. So far, it's working – knocking out the first couple of projects has definitely given me more motivation to dive into the harder ones.