I read this recent post about the author Turning 30 and has never created amazing art. He hasn’t created anything he is particularly excited about, but has over 30 domain names and countless finished projects. This made me consider my situation and the countless domain names and unfinished projects I never finished. In order to stop this from happening, you need to constantly practice finishing in all aspects of life.
I am not only referring to work related tasks. You need to finish everything you start. From books to new year’s resolutions, you need to develop a habit in finishing everything you start. In order to become a better finisher, you need to start practicing how to finish. You should start small, get familiar with finishing tasks, and then continue on to larger tasks in order to become a better finisher.
I started reading 1984 three times in the past ten years. I also failed to finish three times. When I first conceived the idea for this post, I realized that I needed to start finishing, so I wanted to symbolically finish something I started, but never finished. 15 days ago I started reading 1984 again, and last night, I finished.
How You Should Begin Learning how to Finish.
I highly encourage that you finish something you have started, but never finished. Consider it a metaphor for how you are changing your habits. You should be able to finish whatever you choose in under two weeks. You are trying to jumpstart your finishing muscles. The size of the task isn’t important, but you must finish whatever task you choose. Don’t try to finish a software application that can take 6 months to build. Instead, consider finishing something small like a blogpost draft, or a book on your shelf.
If you can’t think of anything that went unfinished, I recommend you read and finish “Who Moved My Cheese” by Spencer Johnson. It’s a quick read with great insights on dealing with change. This is a great way to start finishing. The book is less than 100 pages with large font and small pages. You should be able to finish in less than a few hours.
Techniques to be a Better Finisher
Block off specific time for this task.
I made sure I spent at least fifteen minutes before bed each night to read. It was rather easy since I usually take a long time to fall asleep and reading makes me drowsy. 15 minutes each night comes out to about two hours a week. It isn’t enough time to finish many tasks, but it’s enough to get started.
Start something that is addicting
1984 was a page turner. 15 minutes at bed time quickly turned into 2 hours on more than one occasion. If you are trying to finish something interesting or something you care about, it will be easy to go overboard and spend much more time than you have allotted to finish the task.
Finishing must have a purpose
Keep the end in mind when trying to finish. If your goal is to learn French, make sure you have a trip scheduled in a few months in that country. After finishing 1984, I decided to join a book club in Cambridge. I am expecting the monthly discussion meetings to give me a great reason to finish the next book I intend to read.
Note: If you are great at finishing, feel free to comment and share techniques you use to be a great finisher.