Why Can’t I Finish What I Start?

August 30, 2014
finishing what you start, productivity, getting things done, complete projects

Do you have a bunch of books, courses and project on the go? Do you feel frustrated, because you start things all the time, but never seem to finish anything? Dropping projects half way can affect your personal and professional growth, your income, your sense of fulfilment and contribution to the world, so it’s good to make friends with completion at least sometimes. Here are some of the most common reasons why finishing can be hard and what to do about them.

You wait until your project is perfect

Realistically, you know that nothing is ever perfect, yet, you keep on finding things to improve on. The cure to that?

  • Give yourself a deadline
  • Set up an accountability system. It works better if your deadline is external and you have to submit your project, whether it’s perfect or not. If you don’t have an external deadline, you can ask someone (a colleague, a friend or your partner) to hold you accountable
  • Get someone else’s opinion of your work. We’re are usually our worst critics, so getting an outside perspective can help you see your work in a much better light

You lose interest half way through your project

This happens to me all the time. I love learning, but the moment I’ve got a sufficient grasp on anything, I’m done with it. I don’t want to read about it, write about it or teach it to anyone. I don’t even want to use what I’ve just learned. I’m ready for the next thing. Here’s what has worked for me in overcoming this challenge.

  • Take on shorter projects
  • Discuss your work with other people. When we get other people’s perspective, we see the old thing in a new light and new, interesting angles start to appear
  • Accountability works great for this challenge, too. Make a public commitment to your project, then ask someone to keep on nagging you about it until you’re done

You take on too much and you get overwhelmed

Do you ever think, “I’ll just add this one thing to my list” and before you know it, your list of things to do is a mile long and you’re feeling stressed? Here are some ideas what to do about that.

  • Don’t take on more than 2-3 major projects at once. You’re not saying ‘no’ to everything else forever, only until you’ve completed your current ventures
  • Learn to say ‘no’
  • Ask for help. Are there people around you who can take something off your plate?
  • Take a break to get some clarity

Not everything you start needs to be completed

It’s important to complete some of your projects, but necessarily all of them. Sometimes you dip your toes and you discover that what you’ve started is not for you. Or you may learn what you needed to learn before you get to the end and there’s no point sticking around. You haven’t wasted your time. You grew your knowledge and experience and you had some fun. Now it’s time to make space for something new.

Image from deathtothestockphoto.com

By Tatiana Apostolova

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