Confessions of an ineffective executioner: Why it’s so hard to finish what you start (part 1)

I love dreaming up new ideas.

I love starting things.

My mind is always brimming with things I want to try.

A torrent of ideas is helpful in my line of work. And when I can get those ideas down fast, act on them fast, and see results… I’m a happy writer.

The problem is, not everything goes from start-to-finish in an hour or an afternoon. Sometimes they take longer: An idea might not be fully formed for a few days or weeks. Then the execution of that idea might take even longer — days or weeks or even months.

And that’s when the challenges start: Newer ideas eclipse the old ones. More pressing demands from clients push older stagnant client work aside. The exciting opportunity to create is so much more tempting than the apparent drudgery of managing the details.

But those details won’t take care of themselves. That book won’t get written, that website won’t get built, that business won’t become prosperous unless you roll up your sleeves and actually slog through the hardest part no matter how tedious it seems and no matter how much more exciting other things are.

I confess: I’m a great starter but not a great finisher. I’m an ineffective executioner.

I know I’m not alone. I know there are MANY other entrepreneurs and investors out there who face the same thing I do. I know this because my clients have told me. (In fact, I’m often hired because a client started something that they couldn’t finish.) And some of the clients for whom I finish work simply let that work collect dust because they’ve moved on to something else, too.

Starting is fast. And exciting. And creative. And when something is fast and exciting and creative, it’s almost easy.

But finishing is slow. It’s tedious. It’s detailed. And when something is slow, tedious, and detailed, it’s hard.

I’m a good starter and I suspect that maybe you are, too.

My work as a writer requires me to be a finisher. But I’m not a very good finisher. I confess that I struggle with finishing. I do it because I have to but I’m not great at it. I know I could do so much better.

So I’m issuing a challenge to myself and to you.


Do you have any projects you’re struggling with finishing? I do. I have 14 projects I DESPERATELY want done. Some are overdue. Some are on-time. But I want them done and off my desk.

So here’s my challenge: There are 10 days (technically 10 and a half) between now and the end of May. And in that time, I want to finish 10 projects. I know it’s possible. But these are all half-done projects that now need some buckle-down-and-execute effort. I’m listing them below and I’m going to update each day (in a new blog post) how I do… along with tips and ideas about become a better finisher.

The projects I’m working on are…

  1. Finish an ebook for a real estate investor about investing in empty land
  2. Finish an ebook for a real estate investor about wholesale investing
  3. Finish an ebook for a real estate investor about marketing system
  4. Finish an ebook for a real estate investor about a real estate investing method he pioneered
  5. Finish a book for a debt repair expert
  6. Finish a sales letter for an internet marketing company
  7. Finish a sales letter for a health and fitness company
  8. Finish a sales letter for a social media marketing firm
  9. Finish 100 articles for an income trust client
  10. Finish a report and autoresponders for video marketing site

I have my work cut out for me in the next 10 days. There’s a lot of work here but I think it IS possible to complete this work. I’m going to put in some overtime (plus I do have some other regular keep-my-business-running commitments I still need to keep) but these are the projects I’m going to be working on in the next 10 days.

How about you? In the comments below — IF you’re bold enough!!! — why not list some of the work you need to complete in the next 10 days and participate with me in the challenge.

Published by 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 other books.

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