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Unfinished business. Friday August 26, 2016

A few weeks ago in the dusty cluttered far corner tucked under a bed, I found a small box that contained a half a woollen singlet I started knitting for my daughter who is now in her 30s when I was pregnant with her.

It is not the only project I have started and not finished but it may be the longest. I have books I have not completed, letters I have started but not ended or posted. I am not alone.

I have friends who between them have a laundry that has one half wall painted, a garden wall about half finished, a deep hole in the garden where a pond was going, a shed full of chairs waiting to be upholstered, and study courses started but never completed.

Not everyone is like this. A neighbour answered, when I asked her if she has something she hasn't finished, with "lunch?".

It was the only thing she could think of as her world is full of finished projects and she told me she would never start something she felt she could not complete.

Are we too ambitious rather than being procrastinators? Or are we both?

Another reason that prompted me to write on this topic is I have several incomplete blogs. I know that sounds silly how can you not write 300 words or less. I usually get stuck at around 150 words and feel the topic is of no interest to anyone, or it does not make sense.

So that is not a case of delaying the writing, or being overambitious as I have written blogs before. I am still unclear why I can't finish things. I am not a perfectionist but I suppose I do lose interest in things quickly. That maybe a clue.

Are you someone that has many unfinished projects? Why do you think you often don't complete jobs?

Are you someone who always finishes projects that you start? What makes you want to complete tasks?

A Moodscope Member

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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LillyPet Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 6:34am

Hi Leah,
It's the starting I have found difficult. Things that seem alot more daunting than they actually are.
I do have a few books that I've started and not continued with, but I think that is "completely" fine! I like a book to draw me in so that I'm looking forward to getting back to it. If it doesn't do that, I'm happy to leave it! Why I then hold onto it might be an issue though!
One perspective I've had on unfinished business is whether there is something in the past that is unresolved. Thanks for a great blog Leah. Another lovely day in London, sunshine and smiles to all LPXxx

Leah Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 8:45am

Lilypet, Thanks for your reply. I am the opposite , I start things all the time. Well when I was manic I used to, but now I still start things but not as many. I tend to dip into books because I mainly read non fiction. Thanks again and sunny here in winter.

LillyPet Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 7:47pm

Where are you Lia? :)

LillyPet Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 8:38pm

Sorry, Leah

Leah Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 10:41pm

Lilypet, I am in Australia hence Hopeful one's joke today! Lily, when I say "love leah" on a text it appears as lovlier!!

LillyPet Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 11:28pm

Nice, I'd sign off like that all the time! :) x

John Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 7:04am

Wonderful topic for a finished post! Perhaps you can crowdsource finishing the unfinished ones. Like here's a 150 word beginning, anyone interested in finishing it. Co-author credits.
"Yet" is a great word. I semi-committed to writing a guest blog on civility. I've done hours of research. Then I came to the conclusion that this just wasn't the right time for me to finish it. So I say, I haven't finished it, yet. I still might.
On a more sober note, life itself is an unfinishedness. I just watched a documentary on Jimi Hendrix who told one of his lovers that he would probably be dead by the age of 30. He was fine with that idea, he said, but what bothered him most was all the music he wouldn't get to play. He died of drug overdose at 27.
Hendrix had one thing, playing guitar, and he let nothing keep him from it. But for a lesser mortal like myself the decided upon and begun project is far less exciting than the potential of a project I'm imagining. The current one may require dull, boring, tedious work—the new one is never imagined as requiring hardly any work at all. It'll emerge magically from my fingers. Ha!

Leah Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 8:47am

John, Thanks for your comment. I like the word yet. I know other bloggers have said we should not use the word but- wondering if yet is ok!! Life is a project - that is somthing to ponder. I suppose by its very nature life will laways be unfinished no matter how long we live for.

Bearofliddlebrain Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 10:32am

I like the idea John, of starting a blog and letting someone else have input....we used to that with stories for 6 - 7 year olds in English lessons at school...some fabulous stories came out of the exercise!

Leah Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 10:45am

Bear Yes we used to call it the never ending story with each student writing one or two senetences at a time.

g Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 2:20pm

HA ! - even better word than F one.Ta John.

Orangeblossom Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 8:05am

Thanks for your blog Leah. I enjoyed reading it & it provided food for thought.

Leah Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 8:48am

Orangeblossom Thanks for reading and replying.

Jul Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 8:11am

Hi Leah. As I was reading your blog,I decided I wasn't someone who didn't finish projects until I got to your sentence saying you tend to lose interest quickly and that struck a chord. My other half gets frustrated with me for starting to do some gardening and not finishing it. I will tackle weeds and brambles, dig out compost but leave the weeds lying there and the compost is left in the wheel barrow. I may have a splurge in the garden one day but for the rest of the week or month show no interest in it. I produced a set of postcards once from some of my photography but failed to market them and now they are still in their boxes in the attic. I don't even use them to send to people but buy new ones. So I would say I lose interest quickly. I guess thinking about it now, I like results to show almost immediately and have no patience with the long haul. Julxxx

Leah Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 8:51am

Jul, You probably finish projects that mean something to you. I am impressed you produced some postcards that is a big thing to do by itself.Thanks for making me think.

Bearofliddlebrain Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 10:33am

Pick me, Jul, pick me! I'd love one of your postcards! Would frame it and say I 'know' this person!! His clever are you? Bear Hugs xx

Leah Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 10:45am

I want a postcard too!! Jul

Hopeful One Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 8:14am

Hi Leah- interesting because I happen to finish what I start. My stretegy is not to wait to be inspired but to do a little bit at a time believing as I do that action leads to motivation not the other way around. I am in the process of completingthe dreaded tax return. Rather than putting it off I decide to take some action. Like doing a small section. I find motivation appears as I start. By doing it in tiny bits I surprised myself that I had actually finished it ready to post it to the tax man!

Seeing you are the author of today's post one thought a little Ausdie humour would not go amiss.

Aussie Computer Terminology - Getting ready for Broadband in the bush!! A little bit of Aussie culcha.

LOGON: Adding wood to make the barbie hotter.
LOG OFF: Not adding any more wood to the barbie.
MONITOR: Keeping an eye on the barbie
HARD DRIVE: Making the trip back home without any cold tinnies.
BYTE: What mozzies do
MEGABYTE: What Townsville mozzies do.
MODEM: What you did to the lawn
SOFTWARE: Plastic knives and forks you get at Red Rooster.
HARDWARE: Stainless steel knives and forks - from K-Mart
SEARCH ENGINE: What you do when the ute won't go.
CURSOR: What you say when the ute won't go.
YAHOO: What you say when the ute works
NETWORK: What you do when you need to repair the fishing net.
INTERNET: Where you want the fish to go.
NETSCAPE: What the fish do when they discover a hole in the net.
ONLINE: Where you hang the washing.
OFFLINE: Where the washing ends up when the pegs aren't strong enough

Leah Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 8:53am

Hopeful, I like the idea of doing a bit at a time and I have tried that but then I just stop.Thanks for your reply.

Leah Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 9:00am

Hopeful One, The funny thing is we had the NBN put on yesterday and I can't notice the speed increasing. DOWNLOADING- taking tinnies off the ute

Bearofliddlebrain Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 10:35am

Lolilol and lol again...HO...these are fandabedozee! :) Laughing Bear x

Milliecat Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 9:04am

Hi there
Thats a great blog - thank you. Ah the unfinished project...since i started knitting/felting to help my mental health i seem to have accumulated a lot of unfinished prjects..or finished ones which really need to get moved on via a craft fair or something.
Previous to this i have written poems, which really can sit unfinished for ever as is the way of poetry so that never seemed anything to 'worry' about.
But really even the scarves are ok being unfinished, even the felt pictures, even the needles and the wool that havent even been knitted. IT is all there as potential, for that moment when you think'Aha! i have just the thing!!'.
So is anything ever unfinished? really? I suppose cake mix uncooked is unfinished and wont keep but doesn anyone do that...not finish making a cake?!
So i would say if you do have 'unfinished' projects..why not seem them as potential waiting to be unleashed...
Thank you for your thoughts provoking blog...i think i may unleash some potential today!!
Millie x

Leah Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 10:50am

Millie I love the idea of my projects being potential waiting to be unleashed. Thanks for giving me a different perspective.

Milliecat Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 2:16pm

hey i liked it too! and i wouldnt have thought about it without your blog ..thank you x

Milliecat Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 2:16pm

hey i liked it too! and i wouldnt have thought about it without your blog ..thank you x

Another Sally Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 9:48am

Morning everyone, I often have trouble finishing things. More often starting them because I have to make a decision on what it is I would like to do ( leaving aside madam Should). I have books on: Learn to read music, Learn how to sing/use your voice, mindfulness, meditation, better driving - oh, all sorts of things but never seem to have time to devote to them. I get into quite a downward spiral when I think of all the things I would like to do and, for one reason or another, feel unable to do. My mind seems to grind to a halt and I don't get anything done.
I do have a dog and he is looking at me pleadingly because we are late for his morning walk. Ho hum, at least it gets me out and I often have a chat to other dog walkers.
Have a good day everyone.
Another Sally x

Leah Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 10:54am

Another Sally, I think it is great you have started to learn to do new things and you read a variety of topics. Maybe like Millie, you can see these efforts as potential that is waiting to be unleashed. Thanks again for taking time to repy.

Norman Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 12:29pm

Leah, confession: I have thirteen Moodscope Blogs "in progress" some of them topical and now past their use-be date. (Grovelling apologies Caroline, I will get some to you soon I promise...) I have fourteen other blogs/articles/letters-to-the-editor in the same state, including works on the Brexit referendum which I understand will be soon (ha! Ha!) There are fifteen other pieces of writing on my desktop. There are sixteen projects that I am working on. (Interesting numerical progression there...)

When I left my last job I was looking forward to having time to get on and develop the ideas in my head. Sadly I take many of them so far then run out of motivation. Einstein said "Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration." I tend to deliver in reverse proportions. Understandably this makes freelancing and consultancy difficult when it is otherwise an ideal career for me.

My theory is lack of positive feedback/reward. I've never really been motivated by money (and it shows...) but a bit of praise goes a long way. (Thanks again for all the positive responses to the blogs I wrote previously.) When I finish something I generally feel relief at not having failed, than any warm glow of success. I have learnt to try and cope: when in a management position I try and surround myself with people who like dotting i's and crossing t's, or fact-checking. I find them hard to work with but I know I need them.

As Hemingway said: "I love deadlines, I love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by..."

g Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 2:14pm

Hemingway quote made me laugh out loud - love it love it ..

Bearofliddlebrain Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 5:07pm

Hi Norman...glad to see you here and looking forward to your finally finished blogs! How's it going? Bear xxxx

Leah Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 10:48pm

Norman, I think we may have to start a self help group for pieces of unfinished writing!! Then again we would start it and then not attend!! I also have many lists of ideas for blogs and short stories and articles. It is good to see your name again and read your comment. I like saying 'in progress' rather than infinished. I will try that. I had a friend who said her house was always ' a work in progress.' Thanks for making me smile and think. Look forward to reading more of your words and I am always available for positive feedback and encourgaement!!

Leah Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 10:49pm

g, It is a great quote and it always makes me smile.

Leah Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 10:51pm

Norman, oops. First line of my previous comment to you shoul dread a self help group for people who have pieces of unfinished writing or works in progress. I suppose a group for the pieces of unfinished writing would be interesting!!

g Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 2:11pm

What a great blog Leah ! All the replies and comments too. I wanted to comment straight away but reading through all the comments I wanted to comment on each of them individually as all without exception are thought provoking so I would be here out of sun all day typing instead of sunbathing eg.
You started the ball rolling Leah so instead of farming your babies out why not send an unfinished blog in and ask all to finish it in comments ?
I am so full of ideas that I do not write them down on purpose ( every creative person carries a notebook or sketchbook or uses napkins and such ).
I have decided to let my ideas fly by like planes overhead .
I believe that if they are any good they will land and start putting roots in my mind and grow shoots and all I need to do is give them space and nourishment - plenty of sleep , good food and air and time to waste ,some physical activity like walking the dog or swimming ...
I agree that starting is the most difficult part ( for me for def ) but then I am in the Flow so work I can finish in a day seems best suited to my personality ( instant gratification requirement)
y attending the art studio I have learned that putting some work away for a while and coming back to it at a later stage brings new layers and ideas along so the piece becomes more interesting etc.
If there were more space in the studio I would have filled it all by now with materials I want to use and more unfinished work and as I have to share this space some pieces have to be finished and as I hate to throw anything away ( my perfect excuse to my family to keep all kinds of "rubbish" is that I will use it in my ART - shuts them up instantly ) .

Every ( nearly) negative is easily changed into positive so all I would change about your blog would be the ominous ( almost like mob movie ) title into something like : Work in progress . See the difference ?
it is not what is happening but how we perceive it - idea from another blog or something I read ...

Leah Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 10:56pm

g, what a great comment well actually it is a great blog full of so many practical ideas and interesting thoughts. Thanks so much. I like the idea of ideas as planes overhead. My trouble is I sometimes have so many they crash onto each other and me so I write them down to avoid the collision! I have a delightful picture of your art atudio. Yes John mentioned in progress as well, and I will try that. I do see unfinished business as a reality and not negative but I do like in progress. Take care.

Bearofliddlebrain Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 2:35pm

Hi there Leah! I found out years ago, at school, that because the challenge of trying to get a sewing piece created in a class of thirty-plus, where the teacher only seemed to want to help those who were naturally gifted, made the task seem endless, in inviting and sooo boring, that I was one of the ones who never got a project I seemed to be useless at sewing and at home, my Mum hated it - so it never got done.
These days, I have re-learnt how to sew and great sewing tricks that mean I can make quite a few things...but I am stuck in what to make that's not 'just another cushion' as my OH says!! I am pleased when a new idea starts and I manage to creat smelting worthwhile, so much so, that I WANT to get it finished. Sorry to mention the C word...but Christmas decorations and gifts have already had to be started in order for them to be completed!!
Super blog, Leah.

Leah Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 10:59pm

Bear, Don't even mention sewing at school- thats another story of ( desparately trying to put a postive spin on this!!) being challenged!! Bear I love your comments to me and others and I always smile when I see your name. Cheers

The Gardener Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 3:28pm

HO, aussie jokes! Apparently the Brits use the Irish as the butt of their humour, the Yanks the 'Polacks' and Aussies those from Brisbane - as in Queenslanders. I'm sure you know this 'What's the difference between a Queenslander and a Yogurt?' 'Yogurt's got culture'. I have two grandsons in Melbourne. Unfinished business? Mine is usually because I've bitten off more than I can chew and needs technical experts to do the finishing off which (particularly when I was manic) I knew I could do myself - as people come and watch plaster fall off walls if I approach them with a hammer I have many limitations. I can mix cement but puttying windows drives me crackers. I am in the process of clearing sheds in old house - got to be done sometime - then, like Leah, I find things started yonks ago and thrown up into the loft. The most ambitious a 'tryptich' in tapestry of Genesis, paridiso and inferno - can still see them in my head - just binned the first unfinished one.

Bearofliddlebrain Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 5:05pm

Tee hee, TG! I like that culture joke...I have a mind to use it with other cities...! And the 'biting off more than I can chew'?? I can relate to that!! Then, I find I have to prove to myself that if I started - I will finish it come what may!! Bear hugs xx

Leah Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 11:03pm

Gardener, "The most ambitious a 'tryptich' in tapestry of Genesis, paridiso and inferno - can still see them in my head - just binned the first unfinished one." Please tell me this is not so!! Binning a beautiful piece- you could have sent it to me!! Jokes- we make them about NZ and Irish or used to, don't hear too many around. I always learn something new about you Gardener, you can mix cement. I hope you put that on your CV!!!

Leah Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 11:05pm

Bear,TG havent heard the culture joke for a while.Years ago there was a great Sydney Melbourne rivalry and lots of jokes about Melbourne.

The Gardener Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 7:47pm

Hey bear, do you have bear language? We had a concert given by a choir from Quebec who sang music from films and video games! Not our scene but singing beautiful. At the pre-concert supper we were talking about languages we had sung in - I've sung in several choirs, and adore singing in Italian and Slav. They had a song (so they said) in Esperanto - no one would have recognised it - is Bear-speak the same? Thanks for the hugs, all contributions gratefully received - Mr G awful, trying to keep two gardens and a terrace going in a heat-wave, and the wheel-chair, which I hoped would be a social life- safer murders my back. Saw our mayor today - complained about his pavements - walk in the road then, says he. What, with the standard of driving in our town? Akin to Marie-antoinette 'Let them eat cake'. XXX

Leah Fri, Aug 26th 2016 @ 11:11pm

Gardener, Sending you lots of hugs from down under. Your mayor has obviously never pushed someone in a wheelchair- how arrogant and ignorant to say that to you! I started to learn esperanto in the 1970s when it was considered the answer to word peace. Anyone remember? I cant recall any words just that I started it- and you guessed it never kept it up. To be fair I think the movement faded and so did the language but I maybe wrong.

Leah Sat, Aug 27th 2016 @ 12:01am

Thanks everyone who has read and or commented. It means a lot to me. You have inspired me to look at my works in progress that are full of potential, even the spare bedroom that is more like a store room is my work in progress. Feel free to comment and I will reply as a blog is is always a work in progress!! Cheers Leah

the room above the garage Sat, Aug 27th 2016 @ 10:03am

I'm fascinated by this blog. I tend to have projects waiting to start that never get started and frustrate me so. But once started I usually finish. That is apart from the ever flowing paperwork lie or the ever growing laundry pile!!! What did you feel when you saw the knitting? Sad? Burdened? Ready to clear it? Ready to finish? I've been clearing out over the last few months. I have quite a big place and raising kids on my own has meant we kept adding clothes, shoes, toys as they grew (as well as 'look what I've made' type creations!!!) as there was space to keep and no time to clear. Now the time has arrived and I'm loving (very slowly) clearing out. For me, my mental health is directly improved by order and structure. I remember a counsellor trying to get me comfortable with the uncomfortable and I tried, and had to, embrace that for a long time. But now I know my mental health is improving as I slowly pick through. Don't get me wrong...I get a little sentimental and keep lots of stuff I don't need but it will be controlled clutter :-). Lovely to see you Leah, your blogs are always helpful, love ratg x.

Leah Sat, Aug 27th 2016 @ 11:34am

Ratg Thanks for you thoughtful and detailed reply. When I saw the singlet I was pleased I had started it and wondered if I will ever have a need to finish it! Unlike you I find structure and order very hard to achieve but I do like routine.Thanks for your thoughts.

S Sat, Aug 27th 2016 @ 11:09am

Love this Leah- it is something I ponder a lot. I am always late with handmade presents for babies so now always knit a bigger size!! Also, lots of unfinished things around- I feel guilty about them but have discovered that I am more finish them if I tone down the guilt. Thank you Leah and to everyone else for their useful comments, Sx

Leah Sat, Aug 27th 2016 @ 11:36am

S thanks for your replyand taking time to share your thoughts.

Nicco Wed, Sep 7th 2016 @ 2:38am

I am very behind with my moodscope blog-reading but came across yours today and instantly felt better about myself! I have a craft room full of unfinished projects and a basket by my bedside full of unfinished books. I have no problem starting projects - they all seem wonderful at the time, but then when the going gets a bit tough and I don't think I have the skill to finish, they get left (so many tapestries finished but need to be made into cushions or wall hangings, and embroideries half done because I can't work out the colours, and the siamese cat I'm knitting for my daughter, the leg of which I've got stuck on! And the mice cat toys I bought all the materials for but the prototype went horribly wrong!) Then there are the ones I thought would be a great idea to do but remain unstarted in boxes because I don't have the time to do them (I'm thinking of the 12th scale dolls house peg dolls I want to make). Then there are the ones I really enjoy doing so have to do them in every single permutation and colour combination known to humankind so I end up with so many of them I don't know what to do with them all (I'm thinking of my 12th scale dolls house scent bottles, potion bottles and flower arrangements). So, yes, lots of incomplete things, but on the other hand I have lots of things I have completed so I've decided not to beat myself up about not finishing the ones that have got left (for now)!

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