FINISH THINGS YOU START

Photo Credit: Ambreen Hasan

That feeling of “beginning” something, when an idea is fresh and new and full of life and energy, is an addicting thing. We get wrapped up in thought, our brains struggle to focus on anything else, and we feel the urge to get to work immediately on that new book, screenplay, business plan, herb garden, home improvement project, etc. Beginning things is easy; finishing them is not.

I’ve always struggled with the challenge of finishing what I start. I have pages of text, notebooks of plans, and even t-shirts for projects I began out of excitement but never completed. However, I’ve always firmly believed in the concept of finishing what you start so I end up not letting any of those things go. I just assume I’m still working on them and plan to finish them as soon as time allows. Of course, time never allows, and they never see the finish line.

Last year, I decided to either finish the shit I began or let it go. I made a big list and started crossing things off, either with a red line through it or a check-marked box on the end. It hasn’t been easy but I’ve come much closer over the course of the year, and I’ve tossed more things than I’ve initiated so at least I’m making progress. I still have several projects I couldn’t bear to kill, so they sit in my own little productivity purgatory, my idea waiting room, half-finished or more, hoping for the chance to stand on their own two feet someday when I find a few spare hours.

The best way I’ve discovered to avoid this is to hold back on new ideas for at least a short time. I write down things and even let my brain go crazy developing them for a few hours but in the end, I put all my notes away until I’ve finished the thing I’m currently doing and when I’m done, I decide if that idea is still worth starting. Most of the time, it isn’t; it just happened to be something that was exciting at the time. You might think this is an excellent way to kill beautiful ideas. I choose to believe it’s how the truly great ideas are given a chance to survive and even come to fruition.

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