A twitter discussion with Inderpreet Singh about an ever increasing pile of shelved projects lead me to ask:
Question: When is it ok to abandon a project?
Here were the responses:
Boris Adryan …when the cost/benefit ratio is extremely skewed towards cost. Cost broadly being financial, time, mental health, family etc.
Tom Speller when the box of “to be finished” has taken up most of the room.
Sue Archer When the idea of completing it makes you feel much worse than the satisfaction of doing so…
Simon’s Shed when it stops being fun (assuming it’s a home project not a work one that you have no choice)
And Inderpreet Singh pondered “I think some projects deserve to be recycled.”
Personally I find it a lot easier to abandon a project if it is in the early ideas phase. Once you’ve make a significant contribution it’s harder to let go. Using the parts for another project would soften the blow.
In my early days in the Workshopshed I got enthusiastic about a range of projects. As those projects progressed I hit roadblocks that meant I could not progress them. Some issues were technical or skill related, sometimes a part or tool broke and needed replacing and sometimes I realised that it would just take a lot longer than anticipated. In other cases the reason project was stalled was that I needed to make another part to continue. This in turn formed a new project to be completed.
The net result is that I have a selection of shelved projects at the back of my workbench. Some of these are simple such as a lathe cover, some more complex such as a TIG Tungsten Grinder or the digital rotary table.
So that I don’t add to my mountain of projects, this year I am resolved to complete more projects than I start. My main challenge for the year is a Stirling Engine.