Do you have a pile of unfinished projects inside your drawer or computer? You know, half-baked ideas, incomplete blog posts, or projects that never left the “work in progress” stage? If so, keep reading. The following are tips to help you see things through and ensure that you finish the projects that you start:
Got a bright idea? Take a chill pill and create a plan.
While it may be tempting to just run with a bright idea, doing it without proper planning can lead to you losing steam when you’re in the middle of executing it. Resist the urge to immediately jump into a project and instead take the time map out exactly how you’re going to put it into action.
Having a plan will keep you organized and on track. See, one of the top reasons why people don’t finish what they start is a lack of organization. They dive into something full of energy, but when it comes to the “what’s next” stage, they get stuck, lose enthusiasm, or wander aimlessly. A plan can prevent all that. It gives you a sense of direction and guidance so you can slowly but surely complete your task.
Think of it this way: when you’re cooking a dish that’s completely new to you, you wouldn’t run straight to the kitchen and just fire up the oven without looking at the recipe, right? What if you discover midway that you’re missing some ingredients? Nope, when you’re attempting to cook a new dish, you would look up the recipe, check the ingredient list, and make sure that you have everything you need before taking out the pots and pans.
The same thing goes for the projects that you undertake. You first have to map out what you have to do, determine what you need, then refer to that plan you when you’re bringing your idea to life.
Tell people about it.
Never underestimate the power of public accountability. If you find yourself procrastinating on an important project, broadcast it to your Facebook friends or the Twittervese. Put your project out there. This will make it more real, and sharing it with the rest of the world pushes you to take action. After all, you wouldn’t want to back out or look like a flake in front your friends and followers, right?
You can also apply this trick to the work that you do for your clients and customers (or your boss, if you’re employed.) If you’re procrastinating on a specific project or if you’re having a hard time motivating yourself to finish a particular task, tell your boss, client, or customer that you’re going to get it done by a specific date. I can’t emphasize this enough: Give yourself a specific deadline and avoid vague terms like “soon” or “in a couple of days”. Just set a date and get right to it.
Again, doing so pushes you into action. Giving your word to other people can be a powerful motivator, especially if that other person is a client or boss.
Take care of one project at a time.
Another reason why you’re not seeing things through could be because you’ve got too many balls in the air. Do yourself a favor and focus on just one task or project, and either postpone the others or take them off your to-do list.
Got a bunch of projects and not sure which one to do first? Start with biggest one. Ask yourself what project will have the largest impact on your business or life, then go with that one. Alternatively, you can also go with the venture that scares you the most. Chances are, that’s the one project that’s going to have the biggest effect on your life.
Done is better than perfect. Stop being such a perfectionist.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating that you rush your projects or submit half-baked work. This tip is geared towards the perfectionist inside you. The one who won’t move forward because of little details that don’t seem right or aren’t good enough.
When you’re in the middle of a project, tell your inner perfectionist to take the backseat–at least temporarily. Keep moving forward until you get the thing done. Avoid going back just to fix minor issues. Save the fine-tuning and tweaking for the end.
For instance, if you’re writing a blog post and need to get it done quickly, it doesn’t help to go back and try to perfect every sentence as you write each one. The more practical way to do it is to flesh out the entire post and just go back once you’ve finished typing the last word. Only then should you edit and refine the content.
Take action today
I sincerely hope this post motivates you to get the ball rolling on an unfinished project. To give you an extra push, I’m challenging you take action today. Here are a few suggestions on what you can do:
1. Commit to a project, create a plan, and do one action today that would bring you closer to completing it.
2. Head to Facebook, Twitter, or any other social network of your choice and broadcast your intentions to the world.
3. Leave a comment below and tell us about your project–and what you plan to do to accomplish it.
Francesca Nicasio is the founder of CredibleCopywriting.net. She also helps aspiring freelance writers break into the biz at Be a Freelance Writer. Download her free eBook, 25 Types of Writing Gigs that Pay Well (and How to Find Them) here.