Are You Sick of Making Zero Progress on Your Projects?
Photo courtesy of McKay Savage .

Are You Sick of Making Zero Progress on Your Projects?

Written by Joanna James-Lynn

Topics: Productivity

My biggest ambition is to be an author, which is why I’ve spent the last few years “writing” novels.” I say “writing” because it’s been a pretty on/off experience.

One month I’ll be really into it and get really excited about the progress I’m making. The next month, I’ll forget all about it and start learning Spanish or building a new website. And then I’ll pick it back up again… You know the drill.

Last year, I even made a bet that I’d finish my novel within a year. And I did. But only because I pumped out most of those words during the month before the deadline.

No matter how many times I came up with a plan to sit down at whatever o’clock every day and work on the same project, I was never able to make it happen for more than a few days.

I’m more externally motivated than internally motivated, so making promises to myself never works. Maybe you experience the same frustration.

The Solution

Well, guess what! For the two months or so, I’ve been spending two hours almost every weekday on my novel. Each day at 2pm, I sit down on my sofa and plug away at it, and I’m never tempted to shut down my computer and go do something else.

How have I done this? With co-working!

You’ve probably heard of co-working before. It involves working at the same time and in the same place as other people. Lots of solo entrepreneurs pay a certain amount of money each month to work in co-working spaces instead of at home alone.

But I’ve been co-working from the comfort of my own living room thanks to the Puttylounge. The Puttylounge is a new part of the Puttytribe where puttypeep go to work on their own projects alongside other puttypeep.

The Puttylounge is open 24/7, but we also have co-working huddles at set times. At the start of a co-working huddle, everyone takes it in turn to say what they’re going to be working on. Then everyone mutes themselves, minimizes the huddle screen, and gets to work. At the end of a huddle, everyone feeds back to the group.

Why Co-Working Works 

This system works really well for people who are externally motivated like me, because not only do you have somewhere to be at a certain time (kind of like how you know you have to go to your Spanish class at 7pm on a Monday evening), but also because you can see everyone else working, so you feel a bit of pressure to get your head down too.

Just like it can be hard to get yourself to practice speaking Spanish at home, but it’s easy to motivate yourself to go to your evening class and practice there, it’s much easier to work on your projects when you have a set time and place to work on them in the company of other people who are doing the same.

Co-Working is Whatever You Want it to be

I can’t tell you how good it feels to make progress on a long-term goal every day. But co-working isn’t just for big projects like writing a novel.

  • Lauren sometimes practices playing the hammered dulcimer (an instrument). Other time she works on her dissertation and does client work.
  • Mary also does client work, but sometimes works on her upcoming blog.
  • Luis has been working on the landing page for his upcoming Spanish course and he’s also learning to draw!

As you can see, co-working gives you a great opportunity to focus on some of your hobbies and projects that might never seem urgent but that you really enjoy.

If you think you’d enjoy co-working, consider joining the Puttytribe! The doors open tomorrow, Tuesday June 23.

Your Turn

Have you done any co-working before? How has it helped you with your various interests and projects?

jo_authorbioJoanna L K Moore (Jo) writes about self-awareness and living a life that suits who you are at A multipotentialite through and through, Jo’s also a linguist, a runner, a virtual assistant, the creator of DIY Self-Esteem: How To Start Liking Yourself, and an aspiring LGBT chick lit author.


  1. Katy says:

    Hi Jo,

    This couldn’t be more timely for me! Having concluded 6 months ago that I can’t simply focus on one or two passions but must honour them all in my lifestyle somehow, I constantly feel like I’m stalling on working towards some or all of my goals. I have signed up for notification of the Puttytribe doors opening tomorrow- like you I think I work better when I’m held accountable to others. I just need to accept I need that external motivation! Better together, right?

    Thanks both Jo and Emilie for inspiring me to make the jump into a multipotential lifestyle!


  2. Sharon says:

    Thanks for this. As a writer, sometimes I have so much going on at one time that nothing ever seems to get done. I like the idea of co-working via the internet; I’ll have to get a group together and try it!

  3. Joe says:

    I write scripts and over the past few years I had not finished even one of my many scripts. Then a friend who was making some big connections in LA said he had pitched my idea to some producers and they liked it, even though I hadn’t worked on it in a year and only had 20 pages done. I finished the script in one month and then wrote another one in another month. Nothing like a pending deadline to get you back into it!

  4. Lizzie says:

    I miss the co-working huddles but I can’t afford to be in the tribe at the mo…

  5. Great post. Think I need to try the co working thing. My problem is not the initial hard work, it’s maintaining it consistently over a period of time. And it seems like the co- working could work for me.

  6. Karen Weeks says:

    I love this idea! I have also heard of identifying your “bullhorn” (in addition to or if you can’t find a group). This is someone who will be next to you pushing you to hit those deadlines and push yourself to meet your goals. But it is also the person that will cheer the loudest for you when you do hit them! It’s all about having that support system no matter what!

  7. Joanna Moore says:

    Hi Karen,

    I guess there are lots of ways to get support like this: accountability buddies, mastermind groups, etc. The most important thing is just that you have someone cheering you on! :-)

  8. James says:

    In the last 17 years I have started hundreds of blogs. Never even getting past my second post and about page.

    I can not make up my mind on what to write about. I am slowly focusing on not what I want to talk about but what I enjoy.

    Now the issue is I have found two, maybe three passiona that I have patience for, but I can’t decide to make three separate blogs or combined into one, incase I eventually stray away from one passion to another.

    I get easily distracted or start to multitask in my mind. I am trying to do a mini-sabbatical by limiting Internet use to one site for under 10 minutes a day.

    How have you started your focus time. How did you stop scanning and ‘thinking’ about other things.

    • Jo Moore says:

      Hi James,
      Have you read Emilie’s book, Renaissance Business? It’s all about how to come up with a topic that incorporates all of your interests and that won’t end up boring you.
      I think a good way to focus is to give yourself specific periods of time when you’re free to scan and explore whatever interests you want. If you know you have that time, it’s easier to focus at other times.

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