Thursday, March 1, 2012

Unfinished, Twice As Much

I was alarmed when I read recently about the number of abandoned projects littering the landscape of many countries. The reasons proffered include crashed economy and in some cases insufficient planning, which resulted in monumental waste of national resources. There is a huge cost for not completing the projects as at when due. Much more resources will be required to revamp the projects and finish them. Abandoned projects often become affected by the forces of nature to the extent that they can become structurally defective.
Unfortunately, abandoned projects are not limited to our nations alone. If we pause for a moment and do some self examination, we are sure to find an “Edsel room” tucked away in a corner of our lives, filled with artifacts of unfinished or abandoned projects, failed ventures and unfulfilled dreams.
Unfinished projects – not brought to the expected end – require more motivation and more resources – time, energy and funding – to start again and take to completion. Unfinished the first time, takes twice as much, if not more to finish. Unfinished projects eventually get abandoned, forsaken and deserted becoming a breeding ground for the unintended.

The unfinished projects in our lives are as varied as the number of them. What happened to the New Year resolutions – abandoned by the end of February? What about the activities initiated but left uncompleted, which could be as simple as starting a book but never finishing them, resulting in a bookshelf filled with many unfinished books. At the other end of the spectrum are the costly ventures which have remained uncompleted. The list could fill this page if I try to enumerate the many types of unfinished projects cluttering our lives.
The reasons for them are just as varied. The first culprit is procrastination – putting off until later what you can do now and finding out that it was not easy to come back to it. I started compiling the register of birthdays of members of my church last November. After sharing the first draft for correction, all I needed to do was to revise and finalize the document. I set it aside.  When I was ready to continue, other papers had piled up on it, it took me time to find the document and over the next three months, I spent time extracting information every month from the uncompleted profile. This is just an example how time and energy can be wasted when we do not finish even a simple task the first time round. Imagine what happens when bigger tasks when left unfinished. We save resources when we do a project right the first time. Doing it right means taking it from start to the perfect and expected end.
No one who puts his hands on the plow and looks back … For a plowman putting his hands on the plow—akin to undertaking a business—to be successful in his work and keep in a straight furrow, he needs to keep his gaze intent on the goal and do it with his whole heart. The furrow being made is marred the instant he looks back or takes his focus from the goal. This is how distraction can prevent us from completing tasks we have initiated and from reaching our goals.
Many times dreams, tasks and projects are abandoned because we give up when faced with obstacles and challenges. It takes sustained efforts and perseverance to prevent abandonment at such times.
You lose sight of abandoned projects even when it is looming before you. How many have expended much resource on exercise machines which are gathering dust at different corners of our homes? Though we know we need to get on them to maintain a healthy lifestyle and we see them every day yet we are not motivated to use them – for whatever reasons.
Sometimes goals change, because when life visits us, it brings along changes in our circumstances. At such times, some projects may no longer be relevant to our new situation but this is not a reason to abandon the project. You may need to let it go or repackage for other purposes. It may be a blessing to someone else.
Whatever the reasons may be, it always takes much more to complete every task we leave unfinished. The cost of unfinished projects is not only monetary. It encompassed much more for which monetary value can not be assigned – missed opportunities for many who would have benefitted from the project and the purpose for which it was meant will not be accomplished.
Abandoned project of any size will clutter your life. What is that one thing you have forsaken or deserted? It may not even be a project, it may be a relationship you have given up on or a dream that you have left un-pursued. Perhaps it is time to visit your “Edsel room” and deal with its content properly. Clutters take up useful space and make it difficult to move forward. It is time to free your life of the artifacts of unfinished and abandoned projects, and create space for something new and vibrant.

The Lord your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all the works of your hands… - Deut 30:9

The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands will also complete it… – Zech 4:9

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