Imagine if everything you started, you never finished. Can you picture what complete chaos your life would be?
As I mentioned in an earlier post, simply having a great idea is not enough. You have to take action.
But then what? Is taking action enough? Well not exactly. You have to follow through until the task is completed.
The follow through is what so many of us can sometimes struggle with.
Let me ask you a question. How many unfinished tasks do you have on your to do/project list right now?
Things that you have started that are not finished. More to the point, things that you have started and COULD have finished but for whatever reason have not completed yet.
Looking around my office, I can see a few of these projects staring me in the face. Somehow, I sense I’m not alone.
So here are my thoughts on the power of finishing what you start (and yes I will be taking a very large dose of my own advice on this one).
Take the first step
You certainly can’t finish something if you don’t start in the first place. Ditch any fears you might be harboring and dive in.
Take that first important step.
Be prepared to put in the time
Be realistic about how long it is going to take you to finish your project. Allocate an appropriate amount of time to see the project through to completion.
Use writing for example. Think about how long it takes to draft, edit, format – whatever it is that needs to be done. If you don’t have the luxury (as many of us don’t) of scheduling in one large chunk of time to complete the work, schedule in regular smaller allocations of time.
Be crystal clear on when your project is due and make sure you hit your deadline.
Don’t look through tasks
I can sometimes be guilty of this. If something isn’t urgent or important, I can put it off.
Sometimes by putting a task off for so long, I don’t see the task at all. It can be like overlooking clutter that has been piling up for a while. I no longer see it.
While this isn’t such a big issue with non urgent and non important things, make sure you don’t make the same mistake with tasks or projects that are important and urgent.
Procrastination doesn’t only apply to starting things. It can also mean that we slow down our work process or procrastinate so much we don’t finish at all.
Don’t let procrastination sabotage all of the hard work you have already put into your project.
Keep the momentum going
I would love to say this is easy but the truth is it can be extremely hard. Your new business is not going as well as you would like, the project you are working on in the office is a year behind, the novel you are writing has a massive hole in the story line. Some days you will most likely feel more like chucking it all in, than soldiering on.
There is no way to sugar coat the fact that you need to suck it up and keep going. Be determined to finish. FOCUS!
Have an investment in what you are doing
As I am sure you know already, it helps if you are doing something you enjoy. Even better if you love your work.
Recently I was talking to a friend about a course she was working on. She is currently behind and struggling to catch up. I suspect the main problem is that she does not enjoy the course. She is doing it to advance her career but the work itself is not something she is interested in.
As much as I can sometimes find blogging frustrating and time consuming. The bottom line is that I love it, which keeps me going and moves me forward.
Try to find some point of investment even in the projects you don’t enjoy but need to get completed.
Delegate where possible
Many of us don’t have this luxury but if you do have access to delegate work to someone else, then take it.
I know some people have trouble delegating. As a Personal Assistant for many years, I haven’t had much opportunity to delegate. I’m usually the one on the receiving end, the one people delegate the work to. When given the chance I have no problem with delegation. If you have it, use it.
Call in the experts
Maybe you are stuck on something. Maybe there is a part of your task that you need help on. Call in an expert to help you.
Don’t let your ego get in the way of asking for assistance and finishing what you start.
Most likely we are not doing one task at a time. Take a moment to daydream about how nice that would be….doing one thing at a time. Ahhhh….
Now back to the real world, where we are most likely juggling multiple tasks. Something is bound to fall between the cracks and it normally does.
Where possible and I realize this is a hard one, try not to have too many big projects on the go at the same time. Having a large project and lots of smaller one on the go is more feasible, then having many large projects running at the same time.
Spreading yourself too thin could mean that nothing gets finished on time.
Get over the finish line
You can see the finish line. You are almost there! Now is the time to stay focused and push your project over the line.
Move onto the next project
As I mentioned earlier, we rarely work on one project at a time, so most likely you will already be way ahead of the game on this one. If you have the luxury of giving yourself a small break between large projects, by all means take it.
Give yourself a pat on the back.
However you choose to celebrate is up to you and will vary on what project or task you have completed. No doubt the tasks importance and size will have a bearing on how you choose to celebrate.
A tip to remember – celebrate the small stuff as well. When I got paid for my first piece of writing, I was so excited. Then everyone started asking me how much I made writing the piece. It had been a small amount and as I listened to peoples’ comments, I started to feel less happy about what I had achieved.
Then I snapped out of it. Someone had paid me for the first time to write. I was thrilled! Don’t let other people cast judgment on the success of your milestones.
There is great power and a feeling of accomplishment in finishing what you start.
Remember everyone has to start (and finish) somewhere.
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You might also enjoy reading – The Importance of Finishing What You Start