Finish What You Started – Strategies to Help You Reach the Finish Line

”Do not plan for ventures before finishing what’s at hand.” – Euripides

The deadline is looming and you have barely completed 25% of the work you had to do. Rather than putting in the required effort, you are more likely to succumb to the pressure of the impending deadline and not be able to focus on the job at hand. Many people face similar situations on a daily basis, and as a result they quit.

They don’t finish what they started as they are no longer motivated to do so. For them, giving up there and then seems like the best option. Yet, at the back of their minds, they know they have to deliver a finished product else they are going to lose out on a great opportunity.

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Image source: Flickr. Author: Leo Blanchette

It is at times like these that you need to look within yourself and find reserves of energy to help you complete the work required of you. A recent example of this is the movie World War Z. The film, starring and produced by Brad Pitt, ran into trouble from the outset. Production delays, budget hikes, reshoots and the release date getting delayed are some of the issues they faced. Yet, they finished the production and the movie opened successfully on 21st June, 2013.

Another glowing example is the first Apple store. The original design had to be scrapped, but Steve Jobs didn’t hesitate in doing so. As a result, they managed to attract more customers than they expected. In both of the examples highlighted here, people persevered to finish what they started despite going against the advice given to them. Their failure was thought to be imminent, but they ended up successful.

This goes to show that giving up could mean that you are missing out on the success you always desired. So, the next time you feel like quitting midway, follow the strategies laid out below to reach the finish line.

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Image source: Flickr. Author: HASLOO

Develop Patience

You have to be patient, or else it becomes hard to keep your spirits up when times get tough. The Greek saying for “developing patience” translates both to “have patience” and “make patience” – as they believe it to be an active and passive process at the same time. So, the only way to ensure that you finish what you started is to develop patience and keep persevering.

The moment you stop working towards your goal is the moment where you seal your fate. So, you need to continue making your way there. There is no way you can quit at any stage or else you won’t be able to reach the goal you set for yourself.

Create an Action Plan

Once you have decided on smaller goals, create an action plan for achieving each one. This will definitely make it easier for you to finish what you have started. Making vows and coming up with goals you want to achieve is worthless unless and until you take the actions required to conquer them. Creating an action plan ensures that you have a clear idea of how you are going to complete the said task.

Overestimate the Time Taken

Many estimate that it will take x number of hours for a task only to find out that it takes much longer than that. This is often a mistake made by people new in the business world. They provide deadlines according to the figure they have in mind, but end up unable to meet them, which causes them to lose heart and struggle to finish what they started.

David Allen, author of Getting Things Done, states that lack of motivation is a feeling which has to be exhausted in some way. Citing his own example, he does it through physical exertion. Once that feeling is gone, he can get back to what he has to do.

So, rather than citing ballpark figures, you should overestimate the time it will take. Let’s say you consider a task to be worth six hours, assign 10 hours for it. This gives you enough room to procrastinate (which is inevitable) and deal with distractions while still being able to complete the work on time.

Set Small Goals

Rather than focusing on the big end goal, divide what you are doing into small tasks. This way, you can get the feeling that you have achieved something every time you accomplish one of your mini-goals. This technique also enables you to start off slowly and take your time in achieving the end goal. You won’t have to put in extra effort to get where you want to be and the chances of losing your motivation will be low.

Stay Positive

This is something hard to do, but you need to learn to stay positive. Being positive ensures that you don’t lack the motivation required to finish what you started. However, it’s up to you; if you let go, your mind will ultimately veer towards the negative since you are far off from your goals.

This is also a reason why you need to consider every small step as an achievement towards the bigger goal. So, whatever positive points you can pick out from your performance, stress on them.

Make a Vow

Make a vow that you will finish what you started, not to anyone else, not to your clients, but to yourself. This is something that may sound hypothetical, but is actually an important step. Promise yourself that you are going to complete what you set out to do regardless of how hard it may prove to be. Self-commitment is something that can take you a long way; using it as fuel from the outset is important.

Use Success as Motivation

Success doesn’t only mean that you have completed what you set out to do. Every little step of the process you complete is a success for you. For instance, you could break down your work into phases, let’s say 5. Each phase you complete is an achievement and you can congratulate yourself for it. What this does is motivate you to continue striving towards the finish line.

Also, a change of perspective won’t hurt; when you complete 10% of the work, think of it as 10% less work you will have to do in the future.

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Image source: Flickr. Author: bassem.joseph

In the end, if you choose to give up on what you started, you will waste time and energy as well as valuable resources. So, to become productive and efficient, finishing what you started is something you will have to learn to do.

What are your strategies to keep motivated until you reach the finish line of your projects?

Comments

  1. jessica C says

    Thank you for the article, It has been the perfect text I needed to read this week, keep posting!!! :D

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