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How to finish a project — a lesson from a black spider

Do you have trouble finishing what you start? Do you have ten million unfinished projects on your dining room table, on the floor in the kitchen, under your bed, in the attic, in boxes in the basement, in your closet, and on the back seat of your car? A black spider taught me how to finish a project.



Yes, a black spider. A real one you ask? A real one with eight legs? No, not a real spider. A fabric spider — with eight legs. I am sewing a black fabric spider on a blue sweatshirt to make a  2015 Marcel Legends Scarlet Spider costume for my daughter.

She wanted me to work on two costumes at the same time —2015 Marcel Legends Scarlet Spider costume, and a Spider-Man Legends Wave 1 Ultimate Spider Girl costume.

I couldn’t work on two costumes at the same time.

If you sew two costumes at the same time you will sew the costumes together. Click To Tweet

You can not be in two places at the same time

You can not paint two paintings at the same time, You can not write two stories at the same time. You can not wash dishes and sweep the floor at the same time. And, you can not brush your teeth and clean the litter boxes at the same time. (You might be able to rub your stomach and pat your head at the same time, but that’s different.)

How to finish a project


The only way to finish a project is to focus on one project at a time. Click To Tweet

Why you can’t work on ten million projects at the same time

  1. You won’t be able to concentrate because you have ten million projects in your head at once.
  2. You loose some of your intelligence by multitasking.
  3. You only have two hands.

Wait. Just a minute. I know I was exaggerating. You might think, “Hey Hodges, I don’t have ten million projects going at the same time. I only have ten, or three, or two. I can totally do all of those projects at the same time.”

I know, work on this one a little, then a little bit on that one, and then a little bit on the other one, than a little bit on the next one. Then a little bit on the other one.

And all you will end up with in the end, is a bunch of little bits.

Just like you brush one tooth at a time, and put on one shoe on at a time. Finish one project at a time.


Tomorrow morning. Lets try to put on two shoes at the same time. It will be The Shoe Experiment to test my theory.

What works for you? Do you work on one project at a time? Do you have trouble finishing a project? What are you working on now? And, what did you eat for breakfast? (Please answer at least one of my questions, or all of them.) I would love to know what you are working on.

Here are my answers.

I haven’t been able to finish any projects. I have ten million projects all over the house. The project I am working on right now is sewing a black spider onto a blue sweatshirt. And, I ate sardines for breakfast.

Please click here to comment, or scroll to the bottom of the blog. (Hi Mom.)

p.s. I finished sewing one costume tonight, the 2015 Marcel Legends Scarlet Spider sweatshirt. Focus. Finish.

p.s.s  Be careful when you sew the sleeves from the red sweatshirt  into the blue sweatshirt. I had them in backwards and had to rip them out and sew them in twice.




About Pamela Hodges

I write slice of life stories to help you know you are loved, valuable and worthy just as you are. I am a writer, an artist, and a cleaner of seven litter boxes. I live in Pennsylvania with one husband, four cats, one dog and two birds.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • La McCoy

    Lately I do. I will focus and finish!

  • There are times I will have an article to work on and I will work on one of my poetry books for a dessert. I am working on the Poetry book Chills because we expanded it. I just finished off the 2nd of 3 articles for Crosswalk. I had eggs and a piece of toast for breakfast.

    • Hello Ann,
      Your projects sound so interesting. And you do get your projects done. I tend to procrastinate or little bit on everything. Or no focus.
      But I did finish the sweatshirt.

      Your breakfast sounds delicious.

  • I have lots of cross stitch projects I’ve started. Now, I carry one in my purse. When I’m waiting, I work on it. I wait a lot. I’m making progress. It’s a Philippine flag for a friend. I ate mixed berry yogurt for breakfast.

    Don’t ask me about all my other types of unfinished projects. I do work on them little at a time and switch between them, because they are large projects due at different times – that’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.

    Oh, and I hate having to rip things out and start over – bleh!

    • Hello Eva,
      Your cross-stitching is so well done. I love the little bear I won on your blog.
      Working on the flag while you wait is such a good idea.
      A little bit at a time does work.
      Maybe my problem about not finishing is I little bit everything and nothing gets done because I little bit, a really little bit. Then the little bits will never add up.
      Your breakfast sounds delicious.
      Oh, I agree, ripping something out is no fun.

  • Berdeane Bodley

    I tend to put on a sock & a shoe, & every time I do, I think of Archie Bunker, I can still see him pulling the sock out of Meatheads hand & telling him he was doing it all wrong. Then they’d argue over who was right. Sooooo funny.

  • Berdeane Bodley

    Hi Pamela, you will remember the sitcom “Archie Bunker”, it used to drive him up the wall when his son in law who he referred to as “meathead” would put on a sock, then the shoe, Archie thought the correct way was , a sock & a sock, then a shoe & a shoe. made for some funny episodes. I like to finish one project a t a time. I guess there is no right or wrong way, whatever works best for each of us.

    • Hi Mom,
      I remember Archie Bunker. That episode sounds funny. What do you do mom? A sock and a shoe or sock sock shoe shoe? And, I actually don’t know how I put on my shoes. haha
      You are right, there is no right or wrong way. Just hopefully people find a way to finish.

  • Some folks strive to be a jack of all trades, master of none, but I think there’s greater satisfaction in mastering one thing at a time. I generally focus on one painting at a time and the result is usually better than distracting myself with several.

    • Hello John Patrick Weiss,
      Yes, I would rather be a master of one, than a jack of all trades. I have several paintings started, I will try your approach and focus on one.
      Will you please share your most recent painting?
      I hope all is well in Santa Cruz.

  • Robert Slagle

    Its awful how the masses are fed propaganda and misinformation so others can reap financial benefits. For years, American workers were force fed this concept that the more “tasks” we can do simultaneously, the more valuable we are to the workforce, our employer and also to your own self!!

    “Multitasking” is HR code for:
    We want you to do the work of three people and pay you the same salary, so we “the higher level executives” can give themselves well-deserved salary increases.

    We have been conditioned to believe that multitasking is really an innate trait, just lying dormant until some well educated and concerned MBA pulls us from the self-inflicted drudgery of under productivity and into the light of engagement and increased revenue salvation!

    • Good Morning Robert Slagle,
      Doing the work of three people would be very hard to do, without feeling frustrated. Unfortunately companies do just that.
      However, after reading the article about multi tasking, I see that the person actually gets less done the more they try to do at the same time.
      Right now I am doing one task. Cleaning out a spare bedroom.
      (I just ran down to the computer for a five minute comment break)
      Hope you have a great day Robert, doing one task at a time.

  • Teresa R

    Last Thursday I got out clothes that needed minor repairs and spent an hour sewing buttons and fixing sagging hems and a torn seam.

    Focus. Finish. Great words. Great advice. thanks

    • Good Morning Teresa R,
      How nice to see you this morning.
      Now I have to do what I wrote about too. I have to sew eyes and hair on two sock puppets.
      Do you like sewing on buttons? I do — when the buttons are eyes.
      Great job fixing your clothes that needed minor repairs.
      Love Pamela