Essentials Project : Project Clutter

When I introduced my Essentials Project, I mentioned that I want to start cutting down my possessions to get to what is really important to me. Well, there’s another any of my life that I’ve realized is totally out of control — my projects.

Take a look at that picture. Those pieces of paper list the current projects that are on my plate. I started making a list of what I’m working on last night, typing each one in big letters so I can read them easily on my wall (and using different fonts for each one for clarity and because I love fonts.) Each line is a project that is supposed to be bringing in money.

And yet — I’m not bringing in very much money at all right now.

Once I typed out all the projects, my problem because totally obvious to me; I have way, way too much on my plate. Very very few of my projects are automated. My assistant Crystal is only working on a couple of them and the work she’s doing doesn’t directly relate to brining in income. Almost all of those 21 projects require my work and attention to nearly every details.

I’d saying I’m drowning in projects but let me put it another way — my projects are drowning because of ME and it’s not fair to either the projects or the people who could benefit from them.

So this becomes one area that I really need to cut down to eseentials. I need eliminate, delegate, automate and otherwise do things to let these projects to live and breathe.

Anyone else have the same problem? Do you have too many projects or too few?


  1. I’m with you on the too many! I like the idea of printing out a listing so you can see (I love fonts too, btw) what you’re working on. I sign up for things, agree to projects and create them, then wonder why I feel overwhelmed and like I can get any traction. I’m liking The Essentials Project – I definitely need to sign up and run my own life clean-up!

  2. Being a creative person means you’re dealing with one of two problems: a) constipation of ideas (better known as writer’s block), b) diarrhea of ideas — not sure if there’s a socially acceptable metaphor for that one, because people don’t talk about it as much. It seems like the ideal, a gift.

    I’ve only recently come to realize that I suffer from item b. I have about twenty projects that I’d love to be exploring right now. But the usual issues of time, money, energy, and focus keep me from giving things my attention. One of the projects happens to be a dissertation, about which I’ve realized that I’ve never had to do a project of that heft before. It’s not that I can’t do it, due to lack of writing or thinking skill; it’s that I get bored. And with all the new shiny ideas my brain spews forth, it’s hard to keep up the desire and focus. I thrive on variety — which goes hand in hand with the diarrhea of ideas, I suppose.

    So I have my list, like you do, but most of it is hiding out in my ‘incubator’ while I teach, write the diss, and keep my flute chops on a lukewarm burner. Prioritizing stings a little, but I’m not sure what else to do.

    • I’m working on a system for the ‘what else to do’ — I have some ideas, I think…

  3. Tell me about it! I just did an inventory of the shit I’m working on at the minute, and it took me longer to do the inventory than I’ve spent on actually doing the stuff I’m meant to be doing.

    The domain names I own come to three sides of paper alone, and each one of those is the result of a brilliant idea that I thought up and maybe did a little bit on …

    My problem is getting started on one, two or fifteen things, and never *quite* seeing them through to their full potential …

    Very timely post Lee, thanks …

  4. Same problem here. I like the idea of typing them all out. And I also agree with the constipation/diarrhea, either/or conundrum. The latest idea I have for sorting it all out is deciding what are my three top goals are and then running everything through a question: will action x directly help me achieve goal y? If not, then I delegate (or more likely as I have no-one to delegate to) put it in the ‘not now’ or ‘never’ bin.


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