Okay, this may strain your credulity a bit but I've been listening to one of my favorite George Carlin routines and feel his comparison between baseball and football is analogous in photography to projects and explorations.
Go ahead and disagree, ignore me if you like, but first listen to George and then you can cast me adrift whilst chuckling uncontrollably.
I'd written about photo projects before and I've referenced Guy Tal's essay on photo explorations. I settle comfortably in the dugout of explorations (Carlin's baseball) as I feel that explorations are more loosely defined, given to free association, and liberated from the constraints of a project (Carlin's football). As George says, baseball games are timeless, they can go on forever. Explorations are like that. If I take a fascination with portobello mushrooms and decide to explore them photographically it may last two days or go into extra innings and last a year. The exploration will last long enough to suit my personal level of contentment—and then I eat them!
Should I take the football analogy toward my favorite fungi I'd have a rigid timeline with confining boundaries, critical path analysis and due dates. My god, reports may be required! It's much too tightly structured for what should be a welcoming, gratifying, even pastural, pursuit of an art. Surely you understand this.