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Zygimantas Sniurevicius for Product Hackers

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My reasons to never finish some projects

Hello, today I wanted to speak about a topic I have been dealing with my whole life, "why the hell I keep leaving things half done?" I imagine that just from reading the title of the article your mind already gently reminded you about X or Y that you never finished but pretend that you will come back to it once the "timing" is right, after speaking with colleagues and friends about it I have realized that the struggle is universally the same for developers around the globe.


This is all coming from a developer's perspective that has been programming professionally for around 3 years, so after some deliberation, I came to a small list of 8 moments or signs of when a project is going to be abandoned, let's dig in.


Half build house

Let's start with a big one, this one happens when I already have something working and instead of continuing polishing and finishing one thing I keep jumping from one thing to another, after some days have passed, I come to the realization that every single part of my application is half done, this is where I almost always stop working on a project.


new toy

This one is self explanatory, it happens when one of the following things appears:

  • I become obsessed with a new and "better" idea
  • New videogame release's
  • Some kind of new technology that I want to test
  • Any other type entertainment (tv shows, books, movies)

for me personally, it's always the new games :D, I get sucked into it and when am done with it I can't even remember what was I doing before.


Skeleton waiting
Ideally, this should never happen, but once or twice I let my imagination run wild and on a blink of an eye I seem to be working on a gigantic app that in no way I can finish, after some days I realize that this will probably take me multiple months to finish, that's when the despair settles in and I loath the idea of continuing working on it.



Occasionally there are projects that I really enjoy and am having fun building it, but once I stop for a quick check up on "similar ideas" it hits me like a truck, I suddenly lose all motivation, why waste my time with this when there are hundred projects that are the same or better than mine?


puzzle missing one piece

Sometimes I really get interest in an idea and I start making a mental map of things needed to accomplish it, I try to rationalize every small feature and understand how it should work, after exploring this map there are always tiny details that escape my knowledge and I deem them impossible or too hard to execute because I can't find anything on the internet.


on repeat

This happens when I make lazy design choices all around the project and I promise myself that I will fix them once I get it working, what follows is an eternal loop of refactors that lead me nowhere near the finish line, refactor on refactor on refactor...
The only thing left for me to do is to rush the project no matter the state it is and dump it as soon as I can.

Already code full-time

office worker

Last but not least, sometimes I have this train of thoughts of why should I waste time on personal projects when I already work full time as a developer, I see people around me doing all kinds of stuff and I get the feeling that I should be doing the same and stop wasting my time, projects born from this fear are usually short of passion and never last long enough.


Let me finish by telling you that these reasons are personal for me, everyone works differently, it would be amazing if you could share your reasons to abandon a project in the comments below, I'm really interested in seeing the others point of view on the subject.

Thanks for reading me and sorry if you see a typo, I leave you with some tips for anyone wanting to get better at finishing projects.

  • Small arcievable objectives
  • Always start and focus on a minimal viable product
  • Try to start projects that makes your life easier
  • Make yourself accountable by telling other's about it.
  • Don't just do something for the sake of doing it
  • Set deadlines to push yourself


Top comments (3)

conti profile image

I would vote that setting up a deadline is the best option, give yourself one-two-three months to validate the idea, and then evaluate a roadmap. But I would never say that leaving a project unfinished is a bad thing, let your mind guide you through unknown paths in your spare time.

andyinpembs profile image

This resonates alot, though there's another reason - "life gets in the way".
When you're young you don't think you have enough time... then you get a partner / wife, dogs to walk, kids to taxi about, suddenly finishing that project simply goes down the priority list.
I even bought myself a (good!) book called "Getting things done". It constantly amuses the kids since I'm not even close to finishing reading it...

dalewaterworth profile image

This resonates with me a lot :) i tend to find now, as working full time and after a full days work, it's hard to get the energy to start a second project. I now also generally find, instead of fully fledged features i just try hone in on specific areas and up-skill in general curiosities. This also means more half baked projects. The cycle continues 😂