Personal Productivity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people wanting to improve their personal productivity. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am not sure how common is this, but I experience loss of interest pretty often. Unlike many people, my problem is not in starting things but in sustaining the interest.

One day, I decide that I am going to do a specific project/task. I will be highly interested and full of energy to get it done. After spending some time in it, I start thinking that the output may not be really worthy enough. I get doubts about the utility of the project. I lose the interest. Other projects appear more luring and I get distracted. I abandon the project and jump into new one.

Not, just any project. Even tv series/websites/friends/relations everything is the same. I lose the interest much before the task is finished.

How do I ensure that I don't lose interest in a thing that I started and stay till the end? I am not abandoning it when I am stumped by a problem. I am stopping it much before just because of my thoughts.

share|improve this question

I think you may find this problem is not limited to you - I think this is one of those feelings in life that applies to everyone.

I might suggest, based on some things that have worked for me and some other friends in the past, that you try taking breaks from the work while you are still interested. So for example if you are writing a story, and it's time for a break, you stop writing halfway though a sentence even if you know how the sentence will end. The idea is that you know exactly were to start when you come back to the project and it's easy to get re-enthused.

Regarding issues like 'doubts about the utility of the project' - I'm afraid I can help much at all :(

share|improve this answer

If you're losing interest, perhaps you aren't being clear enough upfront about the outcome and benefits of doing a project. Both in the Getting Things Done and Zen To Done methods, they focus on getting the goal of a project clear upfront.

These methods also allow you to put projects on a Someday list, so you don't have to start with a project immediatly. It could be that you just want to do too much at once. You could try for a couple of weeks to first finish a project, before moving on to another. Perhaps if you get the feeling of actually finishing a project a couple of times, you can achieve a behavioural change.

I believe a lot of people have this to some degree (I surely have). To me it's a different version of the behaviour some people have to always want the newest product (phone, tv, etc.). It's just a behaviour / habit you can unlearn using the right tools.

share|improve this answer

The ability to bring the matter to its logical end - an important skill.

Each project consists mostly of routine or of things that goes out of your primary specialization and it is simply a rule - you will always have plenty of reasons to consider it uninteresting. In real life things simply works like: If you have not finished it - you did not do anything, you lost.

You just have to adjust yourself and realize that the goal is precisely to reach the end. It would be helpful to set goals and reach them not only in the professional fields but in related fields also. For example, not only to write code and ignore the rest - but also to strive to do good design and documentation. Such skills are also very useful.

But do not mix up matter with entertainment. If entertainment is not as interesting as it seemed - do not waste time on it )

share|improve this answer

It's sounds like what you lack is a clear answer to the question "why am I taking on this project?". You should have a clear picture of the outcome you're seeking.

Maybe so far you unconsciously seek the outcome of excitement due to the variety in your work. If this is true, in addition to the outcome you design in your mind (or better yet in a document) you should keep in mind to form a strategy to keep your work interesting.

We all need some degree of variety that keeps us from being bored, perhaps your need for variety is higher than most. So one way is working on more than one project at a time and switching between the two. Another way is deciding on milestones, and upon reaching each milestone stopping to do something different or using a different approach on part of the project, during which you can have fun and experiment with something you're not used to (a new tool/approach etc.). Set a time limit for this kind of activity though, and once you reached the limit continue on working 'the normal way' until you reach the next milestone.

share|improve this answer

In my language we say you should leave a party at the nicest point. By doing so it will keep you interested to come to the next party.

For you it means you could tackle the problem from the other side. Just stop your task/work/project after a certain point in time. Lets say after 2h. And force yourself to do something different. And don't return to the first task the same day/half day ...

After this hard break and particularity if it was a interesting task you (will) want to come back to it. This way you do not stop at a point when you are finished/exhausted/bored but just on the opposite end when it is at a peak.

Result is/should be ;-) you will have another strong motivation to continue your work the next time.

share|improve this answer

I struggle with this is as well. What helps me is to keep sight of the goal (and to create attainable goals in the first place.) With the goal in mind, I break down the project into various tasks. Sure, some are not particularly interesting, but others are, and after all, what interests me the most is the final goal.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.