Why Is It So Hard to Follow Through? A Case Study

So many ideas, so little time. Personal project after personal project and I can’t get myself to start – or if I get started, so much time goes by that I lose interest and move onto the next task or new idea (flawed decision-making*).

Why can’t I follow through? Whenever I identify a new project, I get thrilled, which makes me feel as if that would strike motivation to finish the activity. I would think. Then, life happens – I get so preoccupied with daily functions like my regular 9-5 job, cooking, cleaning, running errands, and finding time to spend with loved ones. I let myself become overwhelmed with those subjects, that when I do find time for myself, I want to “relax” and indulge in scrolling on my phone. Something I’ve always thought was harmless.

However, not so harmless – Cal Newport would suggest. Part of Newport’s theory on achieving deep work is about minimal digital entertainment, if any at all. Sounds fanatical, right? I thought so. It turns out, he has some valid points that are worth at the very least thinking about.

In two of Newport’s Wall Street Journal Best Selling books, Deep Work and Digital Minimalism, the author talks on points about the effects of social media and how to tame them. While there are many details he goes into, the main takeaway is to analyze your social media/digital entertainment use and if it’s positive, negative, or has no impact on your personal and professional goals. 

Think of it this way: what do you want to get out of your use of Facebook? Most say they want to stay updated on friends’ and families’ lives, and it’s a good way to keep in touch with others. However, how much would you use Facebook if you were charged by the minute to be on the site? The number of minutes should go down significantly – meaning that the amount of time needed to get that satisfaction of connecting with others on a digital foreground is a lot less than what most of us really spend.

I decided after reading these rules that Newport has laid out, that I’m going to test this for myself, out of curiosity and out of wanting to push myself to start fulfilling my goals. 

Here’s my case study:


  1. Grow personally and professionally by learning from new experiences
  2. To create content for others, inspiring creative motivation. 

Activities that support my goals:

  1. Research and implement new ways of thinking and experimenting.
  2. Continue researching patiently and push myself to create.

Here’s my own analysis of the social media apps I use and if they are positive enough to keep using:

Here’s my plan moving forward for the next 30 days:

In the above visual representation on social media apps that are or are not worth my time, I’ve determined that Instagram is NOT personally useful; however, it would be beneficial towards my goal of creating and distributing content. Here’s the thing: I’m now quite there yet. I don’t have enough content to support this goal or to justify using the app. 

I plan to partake in a partial digital sabbatical by not using Instagram for 30 days, and in turn, use that time where I would be on Instagram to create content every day, with a prompt. 

Digital Sabbatical – long breaks from the internet. Separate from a digital sabbath, which are short, reasonably frequent breaks from the internet.

I emphasize partial because I’m not breaking up with the internet entirely, just the one app. 

By doing this, I will allow myself to focus on my goals, removing the distraction of the app, and end the experiment with enough content that would give me a head start for distribution, both this year and next. I’m also experimenting with a new process of creation which I’ve never done before: the prompt. 

I created this prompt myself, while researching other month-themed prompts that have been popular in the past. 

Using the above prompt, I aim to create visual content related to each theme and subject. So, here’s to new experimentations and we will see what the results have to hold – 30 days from now!

*Choosing to move onto another task or project when you haven’t finished the previous one is flawed decision-making. Like I stated in one of my earlier blog posts, Keeping Up with Your Ambitions, staying focused on one project at a time is best to achieve high-quality and elite level work. 

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