Knowing When to Abandon a Project

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Knowing When to Abandon a Project

Failure can be daunting, especially when you've poured your heart and soul into a project. Having to admit defeat can be a terrifying prospect to face, and learning when to call it quits is an art that many people never perfect. When a project goes from engaging to soul-crushing, however, it may be time to start considering abandoning the project. 

Image credit: leaf / 123RF Stock Photo

It's Affecting Your Mental State

Starting a new project is almost always an invigorating and exciting experience. Over time, that euphoria can fade, though, leaving you wondering how to continue. Devoting your energy and time to a project that results in failure can seriously compromise even the most stoic person’s mood. Depression and anger are common emotional distress signals of a project gone awry. 

Nothing is worth damaging your mental state. Maintaining a positive attitude, healthy body and strong relationships are necessary for achieving satisfaction. When a project starts affecting those necessities, it's time to move on.

It's Unnecessary and Not Fun

There are so many things in life that are required. Going to work, sleeping, eating and showing up for jury duty are all mandatory. What happens outside of those commitments is the time we get to use for ourselves and the people we love. Whether it's spending time with family or developing the next million dollar idea, using your free time for things you enjoy is a must.

While everything in life will inevitably have times of tediousness, it’s time to re-evaluate when something starts to become a burden. When you dread taking the next step or break out in a cold sweat when considering how to finish the next portion of a project, it's time to assess whether it's worth the time and energy you’re putting into it. While this "quitter attitude" is frowned on by some, lessons learned from  failed projects are often more substantial than the lessons learned by a success. Once a project has become a frustration and a burden, it may be time to move on to something more satisfying. 

It's Draining Your Bank Account

If shows like Shark Tank have taught us anything, it is to know when to throw in the towel. Every infomercial product that makes millions on QVC beat out thousands of products that never made the cut. Unfortunately, when you've been committed to a project for what seems like ages, it's hard to admit defeat.

When checking your bank account leads to panic attacks, it's often hard to scrap a project altogether. The thought of the next pitch or the next breakthrough leading to success makes it hard to justify shutting a project down entirely. Give yourself time for one final push for investors if you find yourself in this situation and then admit defeat. A project with a potential for success will attract people willing to lay down money on your success. If that isn't happening, it's time to abandon your current project.

The word 'quitting' feels so final and negative. Stopping work on a project shouldn't feel like a disappointment or failure, though. The lessons and knowledge gained from any endeavor aren't lost simply because the project didn't succeed. Often, failures eventually lead to success. Once all that knowledge is harnessed and assessed, it can be poured into a winning project. Don't get caught up in the disappointment in quitting a project; instead, focus on the future and your personal happiness.

About the Author-

Ken Myers is a father, husband, and entrepreneur. He has combined his passion for helping families find in-home care with his experience to build a business. Learn more about him by visiting @KenneyMyers on Twitter.

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