This is a discipline that I’ve only recently started to adopt. I really wish I’d come up with it earlier.

I have been in the habit of leaving a project out until I finish it, in no small part because if it’s put away I fear it will just disappear and never get done. The problem here is that being ADD, another project comes along and the first project gets deferred indefinitely. Then another project defers the second, then… then there’s a great pile of unfinished projects and the one you suddenly actually need to finish is somewhere in the middle of all that and your workspace is a disaster area. More than likely all your workspaces have merged into a huge, oppressive, unmanageable, crushing mess.

Now I try to put unfinished projects away as soon as I stop working on them, even if my best intention is to pick up where I left off the next day. In no small part, this has been enabled by my clear bin storage system, which prevents a project in storage from seemingly ceasing to exist because it’s no longer visible. Sometimes I’ll put the project into a clear container but leave the container on my workbench, so if I do start on it the next day, it’s right there. When the Next Thing else comes up, I can take that project container, drop a label on it with painter’s tape, and put it on a shelf. It’s organized; everything I need for the project is there in one place.

Part of my brain still rebels. The ADD me (who still thinks he can get everything done at superhuman speed) says “No way, we will get this done tomorrow! Really! Just leave it! Why are you wasting 10 precious minutes on this?” But the older, wiser me knows that the time/effort of putting it away and bringing it back out is far less than the stress of dealing with the mess when it doesn’t get finished the next day.