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  • Writer's pictureMarkBuildsIt

Unfinished Projects are an Energy Drain

Updated: Dec 24, 2020

After I put the first coat of Osmo on the aprons of the Student's Desk, I realized I was going to need some more. I wasn't worried. I had two more cans on the shelf. When I went to grab one I realized that they weren't what I thought they were.

I bought them a couple years ago from a supplier who had just started carrying this German finish. I ordered the 3054 Clear Satin, but they accidentally sent the wrong product. When I called them up they immediately sent a couple cans of the right stuff. And rather than pay to ship them back, they let me keep the extra cans. When grabbed the partially used can I just didn't read the labels on the others carefully enough to remember that they weren't the right type of Osmo

So I got online and ordered some more from Tools for Working Wood. But until it arrived, my project was on hold. It should arrive in time to finish everything up before Christmas morning (It ended up getting here later than planned, but I still think I'll have enough time). I didn't think too much of it. I would be able to work around it. And I have plenty of other projects to work on.

My shop is also my gym. I spent the first couple months of the pandemic wallowing in laziness as I mourned the loss of access to a gym. At some point I decided I had better get over it and found a way to work out in my shop a few times a week.

The day after I ran out of finish, I discovered I was completely unable to get into my workout. The pile of partially finished parts were sitting on the bench, drawing my attention and sapping all of my focus.

My mind was at work trying to find ways to move forward while I waited for the finish to make its way to my shop.

Could I pull the masking off? If I did that I could flip it over and finish up the top.

No... I need another coat of finish on the paint before I pull the masking. I don't want the blue to work its way onto the unpainted cherry.

What if I remove just enough of the masking to flip the thing over and prep the top for finish?

No, that's not a good idea. If I have to move it, and it gets scratched, I'll just have to do it all over again. Better to leave it alone.

And on it goes. My mind searching for a way forward, rather than accepting the need to sit and wait. Now I'm beginning to wonder how much mental energy is being wasted all over my shop on little projects that I have begun, but haven't made time to finish.

For me this takes the shape of ordering the supplies for a small improvement when things get slow. But by the time they arrive, I'm already back to work. So the supplies get set aside. Each time I come across them I go through the work of finishing the task in my head. I think and rethink the steps I'll need to complete to get the job done. And when I think it might be a good time to physically do the task, I find that the materials are scattered to the far reaches of my shop.

Now where did I put that shim material to level the infeed table for the chop saw?

Inevitably I am unable to find one or more of the things I need. So I think maybe I should order it again.

And the loop goes on.

Deadlines, however, have a way of breaking the loop.

I found another project that has been sitting and waiting for my attention. I already have all the supplies I need and, though they may be scattered across the shop, it's because I just finished using them.

More on that tomorrow.

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