Late last year I had this picture on my desktop. I had hit a place in life where I was starting a bunch of things but many weren’t coming to fruition. I wasn’t finishing. The classic case is the books piled up on the night stand. I love reading books – well, I like starting books and then I get bored so I start another books.
- I had about 8 books I was reading.
- I had 15-20 blog post ideas but hadn’t finished publishing them.
- I was studying for two certifications.
- I had numerous house projects unfinished.
- I had numerous magazine and blog articles I hadn’t got to.
Many people have problems finishing. I think a lot of it is our culture shifting to a mindset that we can have anything and everything at our fingertips, and that knowledge and power temps us to move on to the next “rush” or exciting new venture, leaving things unfinished.
I’ve tried a few things to compensate for my propensity to start without finishing. One has been to keep a journal, a log of what I’m doing so that I can sit down at my desk and see what projects I have going on, how far I am, and what I can realistically take on. I’ve had some success with this but I’m recruiting Katie to help me organize it a little more. It has some leaks and her accountability will help.
Along those same lines, I’m trying to look to my athletic world for other strategies. As a personal trainer, I’m constantly insisting to clients that they need to have a goal in mind. That goals should usually be a competition which is on the calendar and you can see it every day you train. THis give context to your training. In the same way, my reading and writing log gives me context to what I’m doing and I can quickly see when I’m getting off track or when I’m not focusing on the 3-5 projects at the top of my list.
You can see the two strategies that I’m finding fundamental to this process: documenting and accountability. If I’m trying to DO THE WORK and SHIP, meaning coming up with creative value to my resume and knowledge base, I need to document the process and have someone review my work to keep me motivated and on track.
What about you? Do you struggle with finishing projects? Does journaling or working with other people help you to those ends? What other ways do you process how you get things done?