Something that I have learnt about myself is that I am a really good 'starter' but not such a great 'finisher' - I am always getting distracted and excited about something new (a bit like a jackdaw when something shiny comes along!). A classic example is books, I have started so many books, and then abandoned them because another new interesting book has come a long that I want to read more. It's not a great quality when it comes to running a business so I have been trying to be a good finisher as well as making the most of the fact that I am a great starter.
Being able to see a project through from start to finish is really a strength and a good skill and also the most efficient use of your time. Sometimes it really is appropriate to abandon a project half way through...but most of the time things don't get finished not because people don't want to finish but because they get distracted. And let's be honest there are more distractions these days than ever before.
So after having a good think through about some ways that might help me be better at getting to the finish line of a project I thought I would list some of them here incase any of you struggle with the same thing.
1. Set yourself a deadline
This doesn't always work because if it is mine own deadline I can easily let it slide - but if there is a deadline for a client or an event that can really help. It is important to make sure the deadline is realistic and achievable. You want a bit of pressure but not hideous stay up all night sort of deadlines. This helps you to focus and visualise the end of the project and what you want to achieve.
2. Break the task down into smaller tasks
Sometimes my reasons for not completing something is because it feels a bit overwhelming and a big task. I find that if I break the project down into smaller tasks that I can give myself shorter deadlines for then it seems more manageable and also keeps the momentum going. If you have a smaller task and a shorter deadline then it means you are less likely to get distracted.
3. Be accountable to someone else
Sometimes I find it helps to chat through my creative project with a friend or colleague and tell them what I am hoping to achieve. If they think it is unrealistic then they can tell me, but also they can keep in touch and find out how I am getting on with it. Knowing someone else is interested in what I am doing and is going to ask how I am getting on with it often motivates me to keep going. Sometimes this accountability could be sharing it on your blog. That can be a bit scary, but actually if you are part way into a project and you give people a bit of a heads up or a sneak peak it can really help because you don't want to let your readers down - and you want to follow through on what you have told them.
4. Don't take on too much
Sometimes the reason that I don't get things finished is that I have just taken on too much. Although I wish I could, I can't do everything and so I am learning to be selective in what I take on so that I can give it the attention it deserves and make sure that it gets finished. I would rather do 3 things well and get them finished than start 10 things and then have a whole load of half completed not very good projects.
5. Don't be a perfectionist
Now don't get me wrong, some times being a perfectionist is really important and totally appropriate - but quite a lot of the time it is not and can actually be a hinderance rather than a help. Sometime its time to stop umming and ahhing about whether every single tiny detail is perfect and just get the job done.
These are just a few of the things that have helped me recently but I would love to know if you struggle with the same thing and have any other useful tips to add. if you do just leave them in the comments below! The photo above was taken by Samee Lapham when she came and hung out in my studio.
I hope you are all having productive and happy Wednesdays!
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