How to Deal with
Incomplete Projects

© Cheryl Malandrinos - All Rights Reserved


I have to admit I am impressed with writers who can juggle multiple projects at a time. Me, I’m a one project woman. While I can switch gears among various tasks, I can’t seem to work on more than one story or article idea at a time.


The main reason is I hate unfinished business. For me, there is nothing that zaps productivity more than coming back to an unfinished project. How can you possibly plow through your daily tasks if you’ve got old stuff hanging around?


Is it realistic to believe you’ll always get through every item on your daily to-do list? No. But you can learn to work through unfinished business and minimize it in the future.


First thing you need to do is pull out your to-do list. Mine is electronic, so I get a cup of tea, sit down in front of the computer, and pop up the screen.


Focus only on the unfinished items on your list. Number them in the following way:


1 – Needs immediate attention

2 – Needs work

3 – In good shape


The goal is to schedule some time each day to take care of the items that are numbered as a 1 or 2. If I were to do this, my writing schedule might look like this:


  • Check email
  • Promote virtual book tour stops
  • Blog
  • Network
  • Lunch
  • Write 1 review
  • Submit feedback to critique group
  • Write Chapter 8 of Amelia’s Mission
  • Work on unfinished business – Edit Writer2Writer article
  • Check phone messages and email
  • Set up tomorrow’s to-do list


I’ve placed unfinished business toward the end of my workday because I have responsibilities I can’t ignore in the mornings, and I like to jump into longer projects in the afternoons with a full stomach so I avoid snacking.


The key is to find what time of day works best for you and tackle your unfinished business then. If you simply can’t move on to writing that next article before following up on your latest submission, then handle your follow up first so you can focus all your attention on the task at hand.


It’s not always possible to finish an incomplete item in one day. Since you need to refer to your to-do list to plot out the next day, take a moment to see if any of those unfinished items have moved from a 1 to a 2 or from a 2 to a 3. Pat yourself on the back for the progress you’ve made. Then make sure tomorrow’s schedule includes time to tackle unfinished business.


By setting aside a little bit of time each day to work on incomplete projects, you’ll be able to check those items off your to-do list sooner and be looking forward to getting started on fresh ideas.






About the Author: CherylC. Malandrinos is a freelancer who specializes in helping writers increase productivity through time management and organization. She has also written articles on everyday life in the 1800’s, gardening, parenting, and women’s health issues. Cheryl is also a virtual book tour coordinator for Pump Up Your Book Promotion and the editor of Musing Our Children’s quarterly newsletter, Pages & Pens. Her first children’s book will be released in 2010. You can find out more about Cheryl by visiting her website 




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