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:
- Identify a niche
- Create a brand
- Build a blog
- Add content
And then the finishing activities might include:
- Keep adding content
- Grow the brand
- Add more products
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.