Stopping a project isn’t easy to do, especially when that project is based on an idea that seemed to be within your grasp. Sometimes though it’s the best thing to do, but to ensure it’s dead we need to kill the project.

I had an idea a few months ago for a service for users of App.net. It was a service that curated the most interesting or popular posts from your timeline when you weren’t there to check it. For the most part this could be when you’re in bed or at work. So if you wanted to see the best posts from your timeline in terms of highest replies or stars, it would filter out the best posts for you and email them to you in a summary on a daily basis.

I’ve spoke to a couple of people on App.net about the idea and they were favourable of the idea. After months of incubating the idea though I want to abandon the idea. I never wrote any code for it, registered any domains or even tested the idea. The idea might be a success, but given that the number of users on App.net isn’t as much as Twitter, I’m making an educated guess that it won’t be profitable as a service. I want it off my radar for good. It’s too distracting having it sitting in my master list thinking I might do it one day.

I’m killing the project then. I’m not abandoning it, deleting it or putting it off. I’m killing it. Permanently.

With this action comes a sense of relief. No longer will it sit on my radar demanding another few minutes of contemplation. I can get rid of it permanently.

I’ve only done this a few times in the past and each time it was necessary to simply kill the project. For as long as it remains in a list or in your head, you’ll always spend a bit of time thinking that you’ll get round to it.

The first time I did this was when I killed my mind mapping blog, MindMapSwitch. I had gave up writing about mind mapping but I left the blog itself up in the hopes that one day I might go back and write about it. I didn’t. In fact for about two years it just sat there as another dead blog on the internet. A couple of years ago I decided that the blog had to go. No longer would I need to the account to keep it running. I wouldn’t be writing on that blog ever again. So I took it down. Gone was all the work that I put into it, but despite that, I felt great about the decision. Another little project that has been sitting on my radar is now gone forever. I don’t need to worry about it, spend time on it or even get it started. It’s gone for good.

That’s why it necessary to kill a project. There’s no sense in having a project or an idea sitting there on the shelf gathering dust. Yes, one day you might get round to it, but chances are you won’t. Better to kill the project and move on then have it pecking away at your conscience. Once you’ve killed that project you’ll feel a weight off your shoulders and you’ll have rid yourself of a commitment.