Do you think that you need to be particularly gifted to be able to finish what you once started? Or perhaps you’ve always assumed that this is an inherit part of one’s character — either you’re a dedicated finisher or you tend to lose interest in anything you do after a while, therefore not completing many of the projects you begin? Either of these may be true, but we’re here to show that with a little effort, you can find a way to complete what you’ve embarked upon.
Judge the quality of the started project
Let’s take a little step back to decide on the general idea behind the need to finish absolutely everything that you begin. Assuming you’re a human as flawed as they get, some of the things you undertake are simply mistakes. Coming from this perspective, finishing everything you start is a recipe for becoming an automated, stubborn being. If this is your goal, go for it. The point here is underlying the need to judge which of the many projects that you’ve begun is the 10% that are actually worth giving up on. All in all, a time and effort saving judgement call.
Label the project you begin appropriately
Following the step above, it may seem that it will be very easy to throw each of the things you’ve just lost motivation to finish into the 10% category. To avoid this, you may want to label all of the projects you undertake as either experimental (which you can quit upon as soon as you decide that they’re worthless for you) or new activities (towards which you have made a commitment and from which there is meant to be no backing out).
By applying these labels at the onset of a project, you will be able to both decide when (if) you’re ready to give up, as well as stay internally motivated towards completing those that you’re serious about. It’s a form of self-policing, for sure, but we are talking about self discipline after all.
Also, making a distinction between new activities and experiments forces you to really think through any new commitments — since you know from the beginning, that you will be taking it seriously. As a result, you end up getting better prepared for what’s to be achieved by the project, and you make a greater success of taking part.
Set a due date for the end of your projects
By appreciating the impending finish time, you should get motivated to get to work. If you make a firm decision on by when each of the things you get involved with is meant to be finished, your chances of succeeding are a lot higher. Once the due date is decided, you can work on a project on and off and enjoy the little steps adding up to the finished goal.
Track and monitor your progress
Especially with large and difficult projects, simply working on them may be daunting. Help yourself by tracking down the work you’ve done so to date, this way you’d get a chance to see the light at the end of the tunnel. By viewing how much had already been done, you will get a better motivation to carry on right up to the finish line.
When stuck — ask for help instead of giving up
It may well be, that while undertaking a new activity, that you may not have any experience with, you will come to a point when your ideas and answers will end. Whether this is due to lack of experience in the field, or to having encountered an obstacle, quite often simply asking for someone’s advice or help is the easiest way out. Thanks to getting a little help, you won’t feel demotivated and as you’ve failed yourself, and the final goal will get much closer to you. Don’t be shy to ask a little help.
Get the most out of the work you do
Now that you’ve already made the commitment and are working towards a goal, a nice trick to stay on top of the work is making the way you work as enjoyable as you can, either by using methods of work that are fun, or by incorporating fun activities into work on a particular project (as in: only play your favorite music while working on this thing or always get a nice cup of coffee [or else] while getting to work).
Don’t make an imperative of being a perfectionist
Completing something you’ve committed to does not need to mean completing it to the highest standard possible, with flying colors and trumpets playing. Obviously, the merit needs to be there, but there will be no brownie points for the sparkling finish you provide.. point being, get the job done, don’t stay up all night adding bonus features and extra flare to the necessary content.
Don’t get stuck looking at the bigger picture
A job is a job, just get it done one step after another, without constant effort to embrace the whole picture. Yes, it’s important to see the entire bigger idea, to know what you’re working towards, but there is no need to be looking at it and thinking of it every little step of the way. Sometimes you need to only see the few steps ahead of you to be able to move along.
So, have you reached the finishing line of this article? If so, you’re on the right path to be able to start learning to finish the projects that you’ve begun! Just put your mind to it.
First published on the Kanban Tool Blog.