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Published on Tuesday, December 26th, 2023

Evaluating your next project

A Strategic Approach to Choosing Projects That Make Sense for You

landscape photography of splitted road surrounded with trees

As we approach 2024 and decide which projects to take up next, it's crucial to stop and think about which ones are truly worth our time. Not all projects are created equal, and the key to stress-free productivity lies in our ability to evaluate and select those that align with our goals. In this post, we're going to discuss some key questions to ask ourselves to ensure we are picking the right projects.

These may not be the only dimensions that matter, but I believe they are essential to consider. At a minimum, they should help in eliminating projects that don't matter to you.


Does this project align with my long-term goals?

Not everyone has figured out their long-term goals, and that’s perfectly okay. However, if you have, consider whether this new project will help you get closer to your big dreams.

It’s perfectly fine (and fun) to be in exploration mode with a few projects, especially if they genuinely interest you.

Can I complete this project within my available time and resources?

Be honest with yourself about whether you can realistically finish this project with the time and resources you have. It's better to be realistic about what you can do than to take on too much and not do a good job.

Many of us have picked up projects only to stop working on them because we never answered this question in the first place.

Can this project help me learn new, valuable skills?

Projects are a great opportunity to learn something new or improve what you already know. Ask yourself if this project will teach you something valuable. If it will, it might be a good one to pursue.

Will I be passionate and motivated enough to complete this project?

It's important to be excited about your project because that excitement will keep you going, especially when things get tough. If you don't think you'll stay interested in it for the long haul, it might not be the right project for you.

It’s better to revisit this question a few days into the initial excitement to see if the enthusiasm persists.

How risky is this project?

Consider what could go wrong with the project, such as losing money or it not going as planned. Decide if you're ready to handle these risks. Some risks are acceptable, but you've got to decide if they're worth it for this particular project.

This question is more relevant if there’s a significant downside associated with your project.

Is there a market demand for the outcome of this project?

Market demand doesn’t necessarily mean monetary outcomes. It refers to anything that can create momentum, reminding you why the project is worth doing. It can be as simple as having excited stakeholders.

Ensure there's actually a need for what you're planning to create. If there's no one out there who wants it, the project might not be successful. Therefore, do some research to see if people will be interested.

Am I passing up better opportunities to work on this project?

Finally, consider what you won't be able to do because you're working on this project. This could include other projects or just time to relax with your family. You want to be sure that this project is worth missing out on those other things.

Closing thoughts

If you’re quantitative about these things, you can use the following link to compare multiple projects.

Choosing your next project is all about asking yourself the right questions to ensure it's a good fit for you. The projects you pick now will shape where you end up, so choose with care.