Fast or Slow — Here’s How to Make Sure You Finish Your Big Projects Every Time

Two snails running towards the finish line

We all face BIG projects in our work and personal lives.

You know the ones I mean …

The kind that drag on endlessly if you let them.

It could be unpacking after you move into a new house …

Doing home renovations …

Or even setting up your freelance writing business.

(“I need a website, a LinkedIn profile, and a way to get clients. I don’t even know where to start. Help!”)

The thing is, when you have a big, multistep project in front of you, you have your choice of four basic approaches.

There’s not necessarily one best option — but there are definitely a couple that don’t work.

See if you recognize yourself in any of these:

  1. Do nothing
  2. Work only when you feel motivated
  3. Work slowly but consistently, a little at a time
  4. Ramp up the intensity and do it all at once

Now, let’s take a look at each approach individually.

This way, you can save yourself from an unproductive strategy — if that’s how you usually tackle projects — and adopt one that helps you get the job done every time.

1. “I swear, I’ll get to it … eventually … when I have time …”

Translation: never.

Sadly, many people get paralyzed by fear, indecision, or overwhelm when a big project is in front of them.

So they put it off … and put it off … and since they never make a choice about where or how to start, they do nothing and don’t move forward.

If this is how you’ve handled big projects in the past, don’t sweat it. We’ve all been there.

Just keep reading. You’ll see there are simple ways to make progress, no matter how fast or slow you’re comfortable going.

2. “I just don’t feel motivated right now. But I’ll get back to it as soon as I do.”

Motivation is a curious thing.

A rush of motivation is like a shot of adrenaline or a jolt of caffeine. Suddenly, you can put the pedal to the floor and get a lot done very quickly.

The problem is, motivation doesn’t last.

It fluctuates day by day. Even hour by hour.

Sometimes it disappears entirely.

So if you rely on motivation to tackle your big projects …

Sure, you’ll make sporadic progress.

But without consistency, who’s to say if you’ll ever finish the job.

After all, there’s no way to know when you’ll next feel motivated to work on this project.

There are definitely better ways to get stuff done than by relying on motivation.

3. “I don’t have a lot of time. But I’ll commit to working on this for a little while every day.”

Option 3 is like the tortoise from the old fable “The Tortoise and the Hare.”

I’m sure you remember how it goes — the tortoise wins the race against the much faster hare because he never stops moving forward.

Slow and steady wins the race, as they say.

You can do the same with your big projects.

With consistency and discipline, you’ll make regular progress.

Now, it’s true that it might take you a while. But that’s okay. Because with this approach, you’ll never have any doubt that you’ll finish the job.

So if the thing that’s been holding you back is that you don’t have a lot of time, this is your ideal solution.

Carving out as little as 15 minutes a day to work on whatever project you have adds up.

That’s an hour and 45 minutes in a week … and almost eight hours in a month. Think about how much further along you’ll be after eight hours.

Now, that brings me to one final option, which is your best option if you want to finish as soon as possible …

4. “I’ll put everything I have into this so I finish FAST.”

This is when you rip the Band-Aid off and go through the challenge of doing the entire project in a very short period of time.

You might have to make some short-term sacrifices to get it done.

Maybe you stop watching TV or deactivate your social media accounts until you finish so you have an extra hour or two every day to work on your project.

You might have to stay up late or get up early to get it done.

There’s no question this can be difficult. But the reward is so worthwhile.

Because as soon as you’re finished, you’ll feel like a huge weight has been lifted off your shoulders.

What takes other people months or years to complete — if they ever even get started at all — you take care of from start to finish in far less time.

And you’ll be able to move on to the next thing you have to work on without having this major project hanging over your head.

So where do you fall?

Was it easy for you to recognize which approach you usually take?

I hope so — because you’ll stop taking an approach that doesn’t work only if you first recognize that you’re doing it.

Let us know what you’ve done in the past — and which approach makes the most sense for you going forward.

Do you have any questions about tackling big projects? Share with us in the comments so we can help point you to more resources to keep moving forward.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »


Click to Rate:
Average: 5.0
Published: February 18, 2021

Guest, Add a Comment
Please Note: Your comments will be seen by all visitors.

You are commenting as a guest. If you’re an AWAI Member, Login to myAWAI for easier commenting, email alerts, and more!

(If you don’t yet have an AWAI Member account, you can create one for free.)


This name will appear next to your comment.


Your email is required but will not be displayed.


Text only. Your comment may be trimmed if it exceeds 500 characters.

Type the Shadowed Word
Too hard to read? See a new image | Listen to the letters


Hint: The letters above appear as shadows and spell a real word. If you have trouble reading it, you can use the links to view a new image or listen to the letters being spoken.

(*all fields required)