I love starting things. Books, ebooks, projects, brands, ventures, joint ventures, whatever. I’ve got a million and one things on the go at all times — some of it is my work, some of it is my clients’ work.
I love to start things…
… but I don’t always finish those things.
Starting seems easy and fun. Finishing seems hard. Both are skills but (at least for me) finishing is a skill that I have not perfected.
THE START-TO-FINISH RATIO
I think it’s good to try and finish what you start BUT I don’t think there is anything wrong with starting a lot of things and finishing only some of those things. That’s the “shotgun approach” where you shoot out a lot of ideas and some of them will hit the target and some won’t… but at least you hit the target with some of them. Lots of people and businesses do that. (I’ve written before that starting things is a great productivity hack).
So it’s okay to have an imbalance between your starting and finishing ratio — lots of projects are started, some projects are finished (successfully or unsuccessfully) and some projects are just left out in the cold. No big deal.
But I have a problem…
MY START-TO-FINISH RATIO IS DRAMATICALLY IMBALANCED. WHAT ABOUT YOURS?
I have to admit that my starting-to-finishing ratio is VERY imbalanced: I start a lot of things and I finish only a few things… far less than I should. I create projects constantly — for myself and for my clients — but only a portion of them ever see the light of day and learn to walk on their own. A bunch of them end up in the dusty recesses of my Incubate file (GTD in Evernote FTW!), tagged with an “I need to do something about this someday” tag.
It’s okay to have an imbalance but the imbalance shouldn’t be huge. Sadly, my start-to-finish ratio is dramatically imbalanced.
… And maybe it’s the same for you. I don’t think I’m alone in this problem. I think many people start stuff and they don’t finish those things, and yet perhaps we could all probably put in a bit of effort to try and finish a bit better than we do.
So for the next quarter (October 1 through December 31st), I’m going to focus on finishing. A lot of my blog posts (but not all of them) will be about ideas, tips, and strategies to help you #FinishWhatYouStart, and I’ll share my own attempts and exasperations in trying to finish what I start. I’m doing this to force myself to study finishing and as a sort of accountability to publicly share how it’s going.
I have a bunch of projects on the go. I’ve identified 20 of them and I’m going to try and finish them by the end of the year. Some are my projects, some are client’s projects. I’ll give weekly/occasional reports on how I’m doing and I invite you to join in: Identify and finish some of those lingering projects that you really want to cross off of your list.
Of course I’ll still need to start things; of course I have other things going on… I am running a business here and I can’t neglect the other stuff. But I want to be more intentional in how I move projects forward toward a conclusion, and I have a bunch of stuff that I really really really want to finish.
I WANT TO BE A FINISHER
I have lots of projects but I don’t want to be just someone who starts them and then leaves them to fend for themselves. I want to finish them. I want to become known as a finisher — as someone who can create a project and then see it through to a (hopefully successfully) conclusion.
This last quarter of the year is the perfect time to work on my finishing skills. So let’s get finishing! :)