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Baruch Hen
Baruch Hen

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How do you stay motivated for the entirety of your project?

When starting a new project I find myself full of energy and motivation. I can spend days working on it non-stop.

However, once I get to a certain point where the project is taking shape, I find it harder to dedicate time and stay focused/motivated.

Basically when I get to the polishing, modifying, or adding features portion of the journey; I simply start losing interest. How do you prevent this or push through this plateau?

Any & all advice are welcome!

Top comments (15)

matthew_collison profile image
Matthew Collison • Edited

Staying the course when working a project is all down to one thing... The ability to deploy self-awareness at all stages.

  • Being self-aware of why you chose that as your project (Was it money? Was it to make an impressive portfolio piece? Or is it something you're truly passionate about?)
  • Being self-aware of your capacity to get a certain amount of work done - if you go at an unsustainable pace, you're going to experience burnout early and this starts off a chain reaction which makes motivation almost impossible.
  • Being self-aware of what you're getting yourself into - do you know the full requirements of the project will be, at a high level? It's easy to get excited and lock our sights on the cool thing we can build that might make us some money, but as the novelty wears off, we begin to realize that there are a lot of "extra responsibilities and side tasks" which require perhaps either more expertise or for us to do something we simply won't enjoy doing. Seeing these upfront allows us to plan, delegate if possible or make a decision not to follow through with that project.

And if you aren't able to stay the course on your current project - please take this advice when thinking about what to choose next: ask yourself what you're truly passionate about, and try and build something centered around that passion.

You'll be 10x more likely to see it to completion because you'll wake up excited to do the next piece of work every day - and you won't have to push yourself. Instead, the fire of your passion will pull you towards the end goal. "Pull" motivation is what gives you energy, rather than you needing to try and create it, which most people will inevitably fail to do.

We really hope this is helpful - I think you've given us an idea for our next blog post, so thank you so much for the opportunity to help out! We hope you can stick to what you're doing or find something you enjoy so much that you can't help but finish it!

_baruchadi profile image
Baruch Hen

After reading your comment I'm pretty certain that personally, I need to work on being self-aware of the project's requirements. I'll start off by sketching a high-level requirements document!

I definitely need to maintain a more stable pace as well.

I'm really looking forward to that blog post!


matthew_collison profile image
Matthew Collison

We're so glad we managed to flag those things up for you! Hopefully once you audit those things, you'll find it much easier to maintain consistent levels of motivation.

We've also released our blog post - inspired completely by your question. Thanks once again for the opportunity to help out - check out the post here if you're at all interested, as we go deeper on the original advice we gave.

gmartigny profile image
Guillaume Martigny

AFAIK, there's two kinds of people: the starter and the polisher. Some prefer to make an existing idea better, some build a lot of new thing but never quite finish them. Maybe gather around you other people able to help with the "plateau".

I'm like you, I have trouble getting over that phase. The best thing I've found is pride. If I'm proud of something (on the technical side or on the result side), I enjoy messing with it and adding features.

Also, don't hesitate to do something else for a bit (dev related or not). It gives you new idea and new perspectives.

_baruchadi profile image
Baruch Hen

I should try and get a few people involved, even if not to actually contribute, then at least to get me into "social debt."

Once it's not being made only for myself, I might have more motivation to perform in order to show results to those waiting!

as per your second advice on doing something else, I'm going to try and focus on blogging on my "off time" & sharing my knowledge 😄

Thanks! 🙌

annejsize profile image
Jenna King

I've the same problem - when I start a new project, in the initial stages, I have the motivation and energy to stay focused for long periods of time. However, as I get closer to the finish line, it gets harder and harder to stay on track. What does help is to review said project for outstanding tasks and break them down into tiny chunks over the week - and then when I cross them off my list, I get some of that motivation back to get them crossed off my list.

_baruchadi profile image
Baruch Hen

Mini personal "Scrum Board" it is!

It definitely gets harder the closer I get to the finish line 😅
Hopefully, this helps!

Thanks 🤗

elizabethschafer profile image
Elizabeth Schafer

I have the same problem, and it's a constant struggle for me. Here are some things I've tried that have at least worked temporarily:

  • pomodoro technique
  • bullet journal: specifically keeping a super simple daily log of whatever I had to do or wanted to remember, and migrating tasks at the end of the month
  • asking for tighter deadlines to add some pressure
  • writing down a single task I want to finish for the day
  • listening to specific music or sitting in a specific place to help trigger work mode
  • making a point to move and work somewhere else if I'm not getting anything done
  • pair programming, or at least sitting in the same room as other developers to try to stay on task
  • RescueTime, both to track how productive I am, and to block distracting websites
temmyraharjo profile image
temmyraharjo • Edited

Breakdown all your requirements into small piece of module. Do the small task and celebrate if it finished. This will helps you to stay focus and determined. Do not overthinking.

And, the most important thing is rest. Your time is not only spend in work because we are all human. :)

_baruchadi profile image
Baruch Hen

I definitely find myself at times where I "overdo it" without noticing. I need to get better at pacing myself so that I don't pull all-nighters and then lose motivation for the next day 😅.

I'm going to try and create a mini "scum board" and break down my tasks to more digestible ones. It's a bit harder when you are the only developer on the project (for now 😉)

Cheers 😄

xngwng profile image
Xing Wang

Like the common advise offered regarding having a work out partner for gym, having another person who is just as driven can help a lot.

You both can drive each other, and force each other to work harder and support each other.

_baruchadi profile image
Baruch Hen

Unfortunately, I am the only developer as of now.

I'll try and get a few friends involved, even if not to contribute, then at least to help push me forward 😄

Thank you! 🙌

scriptify profile image
Maximilian Torggler

For me, continously asking and answering the "Why" question over and over again mostly helps. Trying to find out again why I was so motivated in the beginning. There are bad days though, everyone has them.

mikister profile image
Milan Radojević

Motivation will get you only so far, it might work for some people but not for most.

What will work

  • 10 Mins Daily

    • Sitting down every day for at least 10 minutes and doing whether you like it or not (don't wait to feel like doing it)
  • Prioritize

    • choose which projects you want to see get finished, if you're doing 10-60 mins daily you can't really do more than one

Some more tips

  • List of stuff to implement/fix

    • Have a list of stuff you have to do (implement feature X, fix Y in situation Z) and stick to it
    • I remember myself wasting sometimes even up to 3 hour on just the colors or the padding or some other silly stuff like that (related: Bike Shed Effect)
  • Just start

    • Often just starting is what's the problem, once you begin you can't stop
  • But what to start

    • A barrier to starting is often not knowing what exactly to start with (related: Choice paralysis, also lacking a clear plan), that why I recommend having the list of what to to implement/fix
  • Stop on time

    • Stop while it's still interesting, if you stop on something that's hard problematic you might procrastinate on continuing the work

One more thing

Of course these are all things that worked for me, so you should certainly experiment to see what works for you!

refiloedig profile image
Refiloe Digoamaye

This is me, too. New experiment I am trying:

Create small objectives related to the project that are achievable (Kinda of like an objective based open-world video game) and mark them off one after the other. Baby steps after all. Before you know it, you have made more progress than you have realised.

And like mentioned in the thread, always ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing.