Did you know that the lack of follow-through creates more stress than having too much to do? Realistically finish what you start and feel good about your work.
How many projects do you have at work, school, and home, or activities, programs, books, diets, exercise routines, classes, puzzles, you name it, have you started but didn’t seem to get around to finishing?
I am notorious about starting something and not quite following through to the end. I get about 80% into it and get derailed. So I decided to make this a priority so I can move on knowing that ‘the thing’ is done. Too many incomplete projects creates unnecessary stress for me.
Follow-through requires brave and bold action.
This usually means it will be out of your comfort zone and you won’t feel like doing it. As a matter of fact, when do you ever feel like doing the thing? The ‘I can’t,’ ‘I should,’ or ‘I don’t know’ mentality creeps in and fuels you with excuses why you aren’t good at finishing things. Our brain tricks us into believing we can’t do it, so why even bother?
I recently went through this process with my closet. I pride myself on organization and structure, but my closet happens to be the epitome of disaster. The boots and shoes were beginning to form a pile in the middle of the floor. Several times a day, I would attempt to walk around the shoe collection kicking random boots out of the way so I could find a pair of pants or sweatshirts buried in another basket. This frustration went on for months. I kept thinking when I have four hours; I will clean my entire closet.
Finally having enough of the pile, I decided to go through the shoes and move everything off the floor. I gave myself 30 minutes to get whatever needed to be organized and then it was done (for now).
Not only did I remove everything from the floor, but I also weeded out several baskets of workout apparel and donated an entire bag to Goodwill. It sounds rather simple; however, this process set me up for success for the rest of my day, knowing I completed something that had been causing me stress.
As silly as this may seem, it’s these types of minor accomplishments that set us up actually to do the really hard things that matter. When you set your mind to do something regardless of your current emotion or the circumstance and focus your attention on the task, you will get it done and reap the rewards. Your brain loves to solve problems, so why not put it to good work?
Here are my tips for finishing something you start.
Pick one thing. The thing you know you started that’s been lurking in your mind and keeps running in the background. Only pick one to-do. I know you are saying, but I can do multiple things at a time because I am a great multi-tasker. Nope. Not today.
Decide on that one thing, and don’t think about any other things that you need to accomplish – its called one thing at a time for a reason.
Look at your calendar and make time for it in the next 24 hours. You do not necessarily have to finish the one thing in the next 24 hours; however, schedule a time, commit to it, and know you are taking action towards completing the task.
Give yourself a deadline.
Here’s an example. I am writing an article on Stress Management for this non-profit organization. I have written my outline and need to create the content. Writing articles and content requires uninterrupted focus time to finish the task. I have scheduled two hours to complete it, so I put my phone in airplane mode and start writing. I write even though I don’t feel like writing and continue to pour my thoughts onto paper, hopeful it will flow into something tangible and exciting. The deadline part is essential because I have the potential to turn this into a multiple-day venture that I don’t have enough time or energy. I also know that it will get done and I can move on to my next task scheduled in my calendar.
Take Action. It’s on the calendar. When it’s time to execute, your mind will start telling you to do something else. You will want to procrastinate. You will come up with excuses. Push through them. You decided, committed, and now its action time. It’s time to create your results by following through.
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Trust me, the more you practice following through on the simple and mundane things, the more freedom you will have in your mind and on your calendar. You will see results happen very quickly because you are no longer putting things off until you feel like doing them, which maybe never.
Here’s to finishing what you started today!