If there's anything entrepreneurs excel in, it's starting things up. We're creative people. Millions of ideas fly at us all the time. And while no one likes to admit that there's a downside to the constant inspiration, the truth is that plenty of our projects get left by the wayside as we turn our attention to newer ideas.
Point in fact: my latest venture, The Founding Kit, took over many work weeks as I prepped the website, coordinated with service providers and launched the product. Naturally, tedious tasks and writing projects that relate to my company, The Founding Moms, were put on hold. We're now smooth sailing with the Kit and I can turn my attention back to other ongoing projects, but it's taken some time to get back into the groove.
Having figured out how to dive back in, here are several recommendations for reconnecting with projects you haven't touched in a while:
1. Make a list. There's no better way to get a solid sense of what you've been missing than to gather all your thoughts, notes, emails and past projects onto a piece of paper. Or in a note in Evernote. Or in a list in Wunderlist. Make it thorough. Include even the most tedious of tasks you haven't touched in ages. This may take several days since you might not even recall certain projects, but let it unfurl and then move on to No. 2.
2. Practice the Pareto Principle. It's also known the 80-20 rule. It means that, in a business context, 80 percent of your business' profits come from 20 percent of your customers or clients. So, go through the list you just made. Identify the 20 percent of items on that list to initially focus on, the ones that will bring you more profit. That should get your squeaky wheels turning and have you dusting off those projects in no time.
3. Talk it up. In an effort to bring back the excitement about a project that you once had, talk to peers about it. Trying to rev up enthusiasm all by your lonesome will do you no good. By talking to colleagues, friends or family about it, you'll be able to explain to them why you were jazzed about it in the first place. You may end up talking yourself right out of the project, but more often than not you'll recall the reasons that you began the project.
4. Find the efficient route. One of the reasons you may have left a project behind is that something was too cumbersome, too tedious, or too challenging for you. Since you've had time away, you can come back to it with a fresh perspective. Were you going about it in the best manner? Was there something that you could have done better? I struggled with list-making apps for a really long time -- I had at least 12 lists in 10 different apps on three different devices at one time. Not smart. It took time away, a conversation with Inc. Well editor David Wolinsky, and his introduction of a new app for me to realize that I was previously very inefficient at my list-making. I'm down to three lists with two apps on one device and very happy about it.
Good luck reconnecting with old projects. It behooves you not to let these things linger. Find that old flame, reignite and you'll be off and running in no time.
Jill Salzman is currently growing her third entrepreneurial venture, The Founding Moms, the world’s first and only kid-friendly collective of monthly meetups for mom entrepreneurs. (She also just launched her fourth, The Founding Kit which helps startups get started.) A graduate of Brown University and law school, she started a music management firm and then launched a baby jewelry company before creating her current venture. Jill has been featured in national media outlets including People Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, Daily Candy Kids, NBC5 and WGN TV. She is the author of Found It: A Field Guide for Mom Entrepreneurs, a columnist for NBC Chicago, and she gave her own TED talk on 11/11/11. In her spare time, Jill enjoys kloofing, baking, and erasing her daughters’ crayon artwork from the kitchen walls.