“Should I Add This Project to My Life?” (Here’s a Simple Flow Chart to Help You Decide)

“Should I Add This Project to My Life?” (Here’s a Simple Flow Chart to Help You Decide)

Written by Emilie

Topics: Productivity

Have you ever had a brilliant idea for a project you’d like to start? Or maybe there’s a project that has been nagging at you for a while, but that you just haven’t had time to focus on?

I’m sure you’ve experienced this. You’re a multipotentialite!

I was walking home in the hot sun the other day, thinking about how we make the choice to prioritize certain projects in our lives. This flow chart popped into my head, and I had to sit down on someone’s lawn and draw it out. Here’s the refined version…

Should you bring a new project into your life?

A few quick explanations…

Why “Give it a Go!”?

I chose to use the casual “give it a go!” as opposed to “yes, pursue it,” to lessen the anxiety around choosing. It’s a lot easier to pursue something when we view it as exploration and experimentation rather than a binding contract.

Most choices aren’t permanent and choosing one thing doesn’t necessarily preclude you from choosing other things. And anyway, once you begin diving into this project, you might love it for years to come, you might lose interest altogether, or it might lead you somewhere new entirely. You can’t know in advance. So, give it a go!

Projects that are “Waiting in the Wings”

When I first drew this flow chart, I concluded that if the timing wasn’t right, you should “add it to your backburner list.” I’ve since decided that I don’t like that term.

A backburner list makes it sound as though these projects aren’t going to see the light of day for a very long time. That’s just not true for many multipods. Many of us have casual projects just off to the side (waiting “in the wings”), that we dabble in from time to time. They aren’t major priorities or active projects (because our plate may be full), but they’re there and they are a part of our lives.

What about CHORES?

Someone on social media (jokingly?) asked where things like laundry fit in this flow chart. This flow chart is intended to help you make progress on the projects that excite you. It is these projects that are at risk of never seeing the light of day.

We need to fit your exciting dreams and projects into your life around the things that don’t inspire you and that you can’t avoid like laundry, chores, obligations, etc. Making sure your laundry gets done is not my concern. Helping you bring your multipotentialite projects to light is.

Your Turn

How do YOU make the decision to bring a new project into your life?

em_bioEmilie Wapnick is the Founder and Creative Director at Puttylike, where she helps multipotentialites integrate ALL of their interests into their lives. Unable to settle on one path herself, Emilie studied music, art, film production and law, graduating from the Law Faculty at McGill University. She is an occasional rock star, a paleo-friendly eater and a wannabe scientist carpenter. Learn more about Emilie here.

27 Comments

  1. Debi Goldben says:

    I absolutely LOVE this. I wish I would have had this decades ago! It would have saved me tons of frustration. At almost 60, I’ve still got a few decades to go and I’m going to put this to use for myself and teach it to others. I almost took on a couple of projects last week and was feeling the stress of fitting them into my life … I would have recognized the potential for “disruption” sooner if I’d thought about it in this way. Thanks, Em !!!!! Have a super week.

  2. Dana says:

    Hey Emilie,

    Great post. This makes the whole process very objective when I come across an idea which sparks excitement in me. I have a bunch of questions, and this may go for long, so feel free to ignore this if this is too much to handle at once and I am being bothersome with the questions.

    For me, a lot of projects I think of will definitely disrupt my life, but I am incredibly passionate about them at the same time. But they are so very diverse in terms of areas, an overarching theme so I can focus on them all together seems so very unlikely. (Some of my most important passions are, dance, filmmaking, coding, blogging. I cannot imagine how I combine them all considering I have huge disparities in how good I am at those things.) I also tend to get bored with interests easily, having changed my major field of graduation in college several times in college, and leaving projects half done, because I simply do not want to do them anymore as they do not excite me as much as they used to. I also have a main field I have stuck out with because I keep getting better and better at it having stuck out in it for so long, but inside, it is something on which I don’t want to spend so much of my time or effort. (Visualize Chandler Bing hating his job, but sticking to it because it pays bills and he has no other marketable talent).

    My questions are:
    How do I focus on a multitude of projects in different fields if they all appear equally appealing?
    How do I deal with the constant fading down in my level of enthusiasm when I take up projects? (I start with maximum excitement always, and the time it takes to dull down varies from project to project)
    How do I manage my main area until I get good enough to transition into a different field while I try to explore and get better at the projects that I am truly passionate about?

    I am sorry if this is so long, I am just in a very confused state of mind right now, and this post just added more to it. I thought I would just write them all down hoping it may help me in some way.

    Keep inspiring Emilie! :)

    • Kim Knebel says:

      I could have written this. I have a host of seemingly disparate interests. I lose interest and waffle back and forth, change my mind and so on and it makes me nuts at times. So glad at least you know you are passionate about certain things. I am lacking what I would call a true passionate connection and have been looking for that. I wonder if I am just afraid to own the passion for fear if I do then I will have a direction and no more excuses to not head in that direction. Maybe pick one or two, possibly the ones you have the most experience and skill with and see about how you can knit them together or work with them side-by-side. Just a thought as I am as confused as you sound. Just nice to know I’m not sitting out in left field with all this. Blessings on finding your path and way to feed what makes you feel the most alive and vibrant…those are clues. K

  3. Kim says:

    Love “give it a go” as it by nature lends itself to a growth mindset, which I aspire to. Thanks as always for your great content!!

  4. Nicole says:

    Genius. You have put so simply what tends to run around my brain in a complicated mess among all the project ideas! I usually tend to just go with my gut, but sometimes my gut likes to pick too many things at once, so this flow chart is actually a very handy guide. Thank you Emilie!! (Once again.)

  5. Matteo says:

    Thanks a lot for this. I am new here – but I already feel at home in this blog. GRAZIE! (Matteo from Italy).

  6. Ryphna says:

    Good article, love the flowchart.

    As for the Laundry… I have one thing to say: stop trying to be a machine.

    We live in a world where we are expected to succeed in carreer and family and still have a sparkling clean home to show to unexpected guests. Even specialists have to do it all or be seen as failure (“Sure, she is a world famous surgeon… But have you seen all the dishes in the sink? And there was at least a month worth is dust on the mantle… What a shame that she can’t keep the house clean for her family.” … Yes seriously)
    Only machines, who would be too busy doing all their tasks to make a mess anyway, can actually do everything we ask ourselves to be perfect at… So if you love your time and can’t stand cleaning the floor: delegate and outsource. Delegate if someone is excited to do it around you and if not don’t be shy to outsource.
    I’m not rich, far from it, but my next financial priority is to earn enough money to get a maid to come at least once a month, ideally twice. Sound like luxury? Sure you can call it that but she will do in an hour what takes me a day doing and My level of stress about my apartment will melt as snow in the sun and I can probably earn the money to pay her in 2 or 3 hours of work that actually make me feel energized and alive… Doesn’t that sound like a fair trade?

    If you love cleaning up or outsourcing would mean not eating then please keep it on your schedule but if not: think about me working on my projects while you torture yourself to do what you don’t like…. ;)

  7. Craig says:

    I really like the simplicity of this one. Quickly printed it up and thrown it about a couple of my work areas.

  8. Mónica says:

    Such a simple and clear chart! No doubt inspirational moments such as the one you were “downloaded” make all the difference. Thank you Emily!

  9. Paul Strobl says:

    I love this! LOL

    Though I must admit, I’ve learned to discard a few from the “waiting in the wings” that I know I’ll never get to. That gets heavy sometimes. I keep it neatly pruned.

  10. Michelle says:

    I really appreciate your thoughtfulness in word choice. I’ve recently discovered that I am heavily influenced by word choice and something as simple as “give it a go” vs. “yes, pursue it” can mean a world of difference to me. It really does make me feel energized and ready to go instead of feeling pressured into something. Thank you!

  11. Lee says:

    This is great. I learned long ago that every yes has a corresponding no (or two) attached but I didn’t have a conscious process for getting to yes or no. I have a list of things that interest me that I think will be good for days when none of the on-going projects won’t do. (I am new to the idea that I get to have lots of projects at once.) So for me it isn’t the back burner so much as the bull pen.

  12. oh my , how is love the simplicity… Will keep this chart in mind daily.

  13. Lisa says:

    Thanx cutie! It help reroute my day .

  14. Lorraine says:

    With so many interesting projects and learning opportunities, why would anyone ever consider a project which doesn’t excite them? Am I missing something?

    The chart is a good decision-making tool but I think I would amend it to ask myself if I had the time to invest and, if so, when and how, then schedule it.

  15. Gale says:

    Emilie:

    You are just amazing. This chart is so simple but really hits home with me. Thank you so much for sharing your ideas and thoughts!! Love your website and emails. They are so upbeat and empowering!

  16. lulu says:

    Love the simple and effective flow chart AND the phrases you’ve carefully thought out. I’m learning, slowly, how to say no to the things that really don’t excite me.

    I’m enjoying your posts – thanks for all that you do, Emilie!

  17. Jóhanna says:

    Simple and amazing :)
    Thank you for making my world a better place!!

  18. Terri says:

    I think this is a good flowchart. Especially the “don’t bother” if it doesn’t excite you. That’s the bottom line really – sometimes I’ll listlessly pursue something because I’m end-gaining only to find I’m not that excited about the end which I end up gaining. I like “waiting in the wings” too – thanks for the useful post!

    Regarding laundry and stuff, I discovered flylady.net about two years ago and it has changed my life. I winced at the unsophisticated language but once I ditched my snobbery I became a convert. Housework and laundry seem to do themselves now. I mention that as it came up in the post.

  19. TerriR says:

    “Does this project excite you?” Sort of. Today nothing may excite me. Tomorrow something may and I’ll feel stimulated into action for a while. Tomorrow, after a night of seemingly impactful dreams, I’ve lost interest. Oh, and to verify my confusion, I’m equally a left-brain thinker and right brain. Mostly introvert but extrovert on some things. And then, I’m middle-aged in years but think like a 30 year old. I think the hot summer has fried my brain circuits.

  20. Maryske says:

    Right. “Give it a go!” That’s exactly why I finally got myself a violin today: to explore it, and experiment with playing it. I have no idea how long this interest will last, but that’s something only time will tell. At least it’s not a one-day fancy – I’ve been considering getting one for months. Let’s hope the fascination will last a bit indeed now that I actually have one. But I certainly had fun trying to play it tonight, and I dare say it went better than I had expected, even if occasionally it sounded like an awfully creaky door! I guess I know now how they make the sound effects in a spooky movie :-D

    Btw, this line had me roaring with laughter:

    “Making sure your laundry gets done is not my concern.” Ha ha ha !!!!

  21. Valentina says:

    I just faced a situation like this last month. An exciting new job offer… definitely “disrupting” my personal life. I spent two weeks in pain not being able to decide whether to accept it or not. Saying yes sounded wierd, it would mean moving to a new town and be separated from my husband. Yet, saying no would make me sooo sad. And yes, there I felt that “my life could use SOME disruption”. The point was just “how much”. I then negotiated my contract would be only one year (then I will see If it is still so exciting as it looks like now :-) ) and we rearranged the timesheet to make it fit with my husband agenda at least once a month. That allowed me to accept. As a multipotentialite I think we have to believe that there is always one more possible “way” than could make things run but it is rarely the “standard” that will fit at first. Never stop challenging it!

  22. Leah says:

    Great post, Emilie! Very timely for me, too. I tend to overthink whether or not I should take on “for fun” projects a lot, so this post helped put things in perspective. It really makes sense, and at first I thought, “Wow, this is so obvious, why didn’t I think of this before?” But what’s clear to others might not be so clear to me at first, and vice versa. Good to remember! Thanks!

  23. Mindy says:

    I love you! And I love the image of you plopping down on someone’s lawn to make a multipod flow chart. This is the type of passion I can relate to when doing a meditative thing like walking, all these ideas that have been floating around about a certain (maybe vague) subject seem to converge into an actual lightbulb moment. It is so cathartic! Thanks for sharing this, made me laugh and is very encouraging. Some say, “you got too much going on girl”, I say, “but I can’t not have all this stuff going on! It’s me and I love it. I love all the things!”

  24. Jonathan Peer says:

    Fantastic Chart! Really helpful.

  25. Aris says:

    I’ll use this chart and will put on the front of my door :)
    Thanks!