#FinishWhatYouStart is made easier when you see ongoing accomplishment

I’ve realized that one of the reasons why I struggle with finishing what I start is because I don’t get a sense of accomplishment as the project progresses.

Consider a really basic project such as starting up a brand. The starting activities might include:

  1. Identify a niche
  2. Create a brand
  3. Build a blog
  4. Monetize
  5. Add content
  6. (etc.)

And then the finishing activities might include:

  1. Keep adding content
  2. Grow the brand
  3. Add more products
  4. Innovate
  5. (etc.)

Notice a difference between the starting activities and the finishing ones? The starting activities are clearly something you can cross off right away once you’ve done them. The finishing activities are ongoing. So it’s easy to do the starting stuff and gain a sense of accomplishment from crossing it off but it’s harder to gain a sense of accomplishment when you can never really cross of “keep adding content” or “innovate”. These things never leave your to-do list.

You can resolve them a bit by creating clearer, short-term milestones. Rather than setting your finishing activity as “keep adding content”, it needs to be something like “publish 100 blog posts” and then “publish 250 blog posts” and then “publish 500 blog posts” and then “publish 1000 blog posts”… and so on.

But even this is a challenge because of another reason: As a project continues, the adversity tends to grow. Therefore, the effort required to complete 1 step in the early stages is easier than the effort required to complete 1 step in the later stages. I think that’s a huge but under-appreciated problem. So what happens is, you get that big hit of satisfaction by crossing off a bunch of things early in a project and then the crossing off becomes sparser and sparser as the project becomes harder and harder.

I’m noticing that with my list of #FinishWhatYouStart tasks that I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts: I’m working on some of them but it doesn’t SEEM like it because nothing is being crossed off. That lack of apparent accomplishment can be discouraging or, at the very least, demotivating.

I’m not sure how to fix this. An easy suggestion is to make your steps smaller as you get closer to the finish because that will still give you that sense of accomplishment, which might be enough to motivate you. That’s probably not the only thing to do but it seems like an easy fix.

Aaron Hoos

Aaron Hoos is a writer, strategist, and investor who builds and optimizes profitable sales funnels. He is the author of The Sales Funnel Bible and he's a real estate investor and a copywriter for real estate investors.

3 thoughts on “#FinishWhatYouStart is made easier when you see ongoing accomplishment

  1. Hey Aaron, as you know I’m a huge “List” guy, love my lists, and that act of scratching things off you mentioned. Certain tasks though were harder for me to measure, but no less important so I tried out a system of using arbitrary points for those tasks that were important in my business, but hard to measure. Traffic, subscribers, sales are all pretty easy (not counting affiliate sales lol) but tasks like writing an ebook page, editing a video, or even just tidying up the office are harder to measure, but still contribute. By assigning values like 10, 10, 1 respectively to those tasks I can then graph them at the end of each day, and see my productivity in a much more meaningful way. I further break those things down into sections for Business, and Income, because I can clean, and write all day long, but if I’m not worrying about things that actually drive sales I’m going hungry so I try and strike a balance between the sections I use.

    1. I’m interested in hearing more about how you assign values to things. Is it only values of 10 and 1 (with 10 being assigned to income-generating activities)? Do you have other values in between for other things? How do you graph them (or was that a figure of speech)?

      1. Hey Arron, the numbers are arbitrary and the only important thing is to set a value commensurate to the value that task has in your business.
        IE. responding to an email might be a single point but it still has to get done, and it still takes time, like many of the other tasks we find ourselves doing throughout the day but that are hard to measure.
        Tasks that are either difficult for you, or more valuable (sales driven) would get a higher point number. Recording a training video, or webinar might be 25 points. Two items may be identical in work but have to different point values. A blog post of 700 words might be 10 points, but an ebook page of 700 words for a paying client might get 15.

        The graph you can do either in Excel, Google docs, or simply with graph paper if you’re old school, and it just serves as a daily/weekly/monthly view of how productive you are, perhaps which days are higher producing etc. You can even set yourself a productivity quota, if you find you typically do 75 points a day, you might choose to stretch yourself to 100 every Tue/Thur or whatever keeps you moving forward faster. :)

        It’s a different approach, and I know for me it took a couple of weeks to start realizing it’s value, the first few days it just seemed like extra work and I was tempted to quit, so if I were you and you decide to try it commit to 2 weeks or so at least. I tried using this method using time blocks, but found that didn’t work as well for me.

        Let me know if you want to discuss it further, I can give you a shout and we can go over it, and tweak it to work for your work day.

        Talk soon.

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