The Sad Truth About Project Burnout

Have you ever taken on a project that really excited you?  You know, the one that motivated you to rush out and purchase all the supplies, and filled your head with visions of how beautiful it would look?  You begin working on it with enthusiasm, spend a few days focusing on the end results, and then it happens…..project burnout!


That is exactly what happened to me recently with a project I started this summer.  You might remember the blog post I did in August.  I had gone to a local antique market and found the perfect table and chair set for my granddaughters.  I was so excited with my “find” and could just picture how cute it would look sitting in their playroom.

My goal was to have it painted in time for their Fall birthday, complete with matching cushions.  But here we are, the week following Thanksgiving, birthdays have come and gone, and the project is still not finished.  I have even enlisted the help of my husband.   And I have even reminded myself to finish it – every time I walk past it on my way to the car.  Yes, I admit that I have project burnout.

  Project Burnout

My enthusiasm began to dissolve when I realized that things weren’t going as smoothly as I imagined.

  • Sanding took too long.
  • The odor of the primer gave me an asthma attack.
  • The table top needed to be replaced and required trim.
  • We didn’t let the first coat of paint dry long enough.
  • The top was tacky and everything stained it. Definitely not a good thing for a child’s art table!

My Solution:

  • Re-focusfocus
  • Set an intention to finish it…NOW!  Playing Christmas carols helps.
  • Sand the drips and corners
  • Switch to chalkboard paint on the table top and be sure to let each coat dry for 24 hours
  • Let the paint cure for 2 weeks before using the table (advice from the Benjamin Moore paint store experts)
  • Cut out the cushion covers and foam – Day 1
  • Sew the cushion covers – Day 2
  • Wrap the cushions and add the covers – Day 3

Moral to the story:

  • Projects sound great when you start out
  • Be realistic about the time and cost involved
  • Be realistic about your skill level
  • Be honest with yourself about why you really want to do this.  For me, it was the satisfaction of turning something ugly into something beautiful and useful.

And always remember, that when all else fails…..hire an expert to finish it for you!  Or better yet, let them do the whole thing from start to finish.