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Thread: Workshop and/or Project Motivation Issues?

  1. #1
    kbalch's Avatar
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    Workshop and/or Project Motivation Issues?

    Since we're here together, in a self-selected community of "makers" (as the current vernacular likes to term it), it's probably safe to assume that we all enjoy building. While our building tasks may span a vast range of interests and disciplines, I'm sure that we have this in common: the occasional attack of project-related ennui.

    No matter how interested we may be in our current project, sometimes we simply stand in the shop and stare at it, unable to lift a tool or do anything productive - or maybe that's just me…

    How do you deal with workshop and/or project motivation issues?

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  2. #2
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    I think that's one of the reasons we join a community like this (forum). To become more motivated to complete tasks we've set ourselves and also to be inspired by other members work. I too, suffer from this phenomenon at times. I find that being in contact with like minded people provides some inspiration. Attending shows, exhibits, fairs, race meetings, relating to your chosen field sometimes provides the necessary motivation to proceed with the next phase of your project. Failing the lack of these aforementioned avenues, I sometimes, just start a new project, one that is smaller than the preferred one. I find that this gives you renewed interest in the primary task once the smaller project is completed. This practice, may have the undesirable effect of you creating endless new projects, but hey, otherwise you would be just sitting there procrastinating.

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    crazypj (Jun 10, 2015), kbalch (Jun 3, 2015), zetuskid (Jun 4, 2015)

  4. #3
    Supporting Member Christophe Mineau's Avatar
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    Great topic , Ken, I recognize the great workshop-men psychologist you are. ;-)

    I think I very often suffer from that , as you say, occasional attack of project-related ennui.
    Especially as an amateur instrument maker, projects are really long lasting, I can take, working a few hours per week end, more than a year to complete an instrument, and the initial motivation you had when you started the project can fluctuate a lot as time elapses .
    There are also parts of great interest and some other with lesser interest (for me like varnishing, or sanding), and you sometimes re schedule that for the morning after, and the week end after ... and the project can slow down ...

    But eventually, even if I can start lots of different things in the same (and I claim it), I know I will complete everything, it is a question of personal satisfaction.

    There is also another source of project slowing down, it is when you lost your customer before the project ends. For instance, I have started a viola for my son, the project was progressing quite fast when my dear teen son decided that he would no more play the violin ... pfff ... My viola got stuck for a while... but I started it again, I want now to complete it rapidely, because I really want to start a new Mandola that will be for myself ! (even if the varnish is something on a violin that I don't like so much and that is so time consuming .... but I think it will overlap with the mandola project).

    Astro says above :
    I think that's one of the reasons we join a community like this (forum). To become more motivated to complete tasks we've set ourselves and also to be inspired by other members work
    That's true, but that's also a source for distraction in our projects !
    How much times did I say to myself, "I must focus on my project" ... and after a few minutes spent on the smartphone looking at my favorit forum's news, the illumination comes and I say "I must build one like this, no better like this", and I end up doing something different as what was initially planed ...
    Last edited by Christophe Mineau; Jun 3, 2015 at 09:37 PM.
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  6. #4
    Supporting Member jere's Avatar
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    I have to fight to keep my balance with the topic. I make my own job schedule in addition to the garage/shop schedule. A lot is just impulsive until one project must be finished to start the next, or a bills must be paid. My job doesn't always pay and instead garage shop work must fill in. If I do find myself stalling or getting hung up with on a garage shop project sometimes I gamble with a slow low pay job at work.

    So my latest garage shop project is resurfacing the head of a "free" pt cruiser that has been sitting in the driveway for a few years now. I took the motor apart in a couple of days, resurfaced the warped head in about a half day(with no machines, [knocks on wood]) and now that can't bring myself to put the thing back together. This is the homestretch, the easy part. So I spent today at work when I knew it would be slow. I sat around for hours with no business all the while paying for my time. The whole time hating my job and refocusing on the garage shop project. "I think tomorrow I will have the motivation to get some work done on the pt. Its better than using up my day and gambling with my life safety for less than minimum wage. " I say to myself.

    Sometimes just buying or making a new tool helps as motivation sometimes too. "Oh I can use this imperial gear wrench today because the bolt head is so rusted the larger metric wrench that is supposed to fit, doesn't anymore!" Or "yes I can use my new mini acetylene torch because the bolt that was welded inside of the boxed engine cradle broke loose and is completely unacessable!".

  7. #5
    Supporting Member crazypj's Avatar
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    I know I have too many projects started at once and often have to feeling of being overwhelmed by my 'stupidity' at taking on too much. I also spend way too much time looking at other people's projects and think 'I need to make one of those/that' but don't want to start yet another 'stalled' project.
    No idea why I suddenly get motivated and spend 4 hrs 'playing with metal' but I have been known to take some painkillers, a then spend multiple 3~4 hr stints at machines making 'things' (I had spine surgery almost 2 yrs ago, still hurts to stand up too long)
    My wife has to remind me to eat when I get started on stuff

  8. #6
    Supporting Member Hotz's Avatar
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    Make my own the words of Astro...
    Adding only that it is more difficult to proceed with a project when it is related directly to my work (Mechanical).
    It is better when the project is in another area. It works perfectly against stress.

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