Finishing What You Have StartedJun 13, 2023
Everyone has experienced the energy and positivity of starting a new project, but not everyone can finish what they have started. This issue of abandoning tasks despite having enthusiasm at the beginning is all too common in our lives, yet learning to stick with something until completion is essential to growth and success. This blog post will explore why it's important to finish what you have started and how to stay motivated and focused until the end.
Dropping a task halfway through
Many of us can feel excited and enthusiastic while planning and envisioning a goal or dream or doing any task during its initial stages. We feel motivated to work on new ideas, and things feel fresh while starting. However, as time passes, things can get monotonous or too challenging, and we may lose interest in what we do. This can result in performance and quality drops in work output and even result in us dropping a task altogether. There are several reasons why we may quit a job or any task we are doing.
- We may have become too familiar with what we are doing. As a result, things don't feel novel anymore, resulting in lost interest or half-baked efforts.
- Something else has caught our interest, so we decide to move on to a new thing. This can mainly be the case for hobbies or any nonwork-related endeavors where our interests can quickly jump from one thing to another in hopes of finding something that will amuse us.
- Tasks can get more complex and challenging the further we progress. This can lead to our skills, knowledge, and resources not meeting the requirements to finish tasks or at least make progress. We may not be apt to learn the new techniques required to move forward.
- We keep getting distracted by problems and other matters not related to what we are doing. As a result, we lose focus, causing us to drop what we do.
- Something urgent caused us to abandon a particular work or project. It may be a higher priority than what we are currently doing.
Whatever the reason for quitting something, it can have some adverse effects on us. It can instill a habit where you never get to finish what you start or drop something at the slightest whim. In the workplace, we can be seen as unprofessional if we can't turn in a final output for our jobs or complete projects, which can negatively affect our careers as our coworkers and supervisors may see us as unreliable when it comes to finishing different projects. We may also become more prone to procrastination and laziness if we make it a habit never to cross the finish line in anything that we do.
What can you do to finish what you started?
Finishing any endeavor you started is a matter of commitment. It builds self-discipline and keeps you moving forward, knowing you can accomplish things. Starting projects or work can be easy, but don't expect it to be the same as you progress. Various things can derail us from what we need or want to do, but we can also do several things to keep working on and get our desired outcome. The sense of fulfillment we can get from finishing things can be very satisfying and helps build our character of seeing things through, even if the result won't be the same as we expected, as long as we get things done.
1. Identify the reason or vision you have regarding why you need to work on something
When you start doing or working on something, there is most likely a reason or vision for your decision. Perhaps there is some excellent reward waiting once you finish or keep doing something, such as a monetary or material reward or as simple as happiness and fulfillment. Whenever you get hit by feelings of not wanting to continue, think about why you are doing something. That reason will call you back to work; otherwise, you may try doing something else if you don't see the reason as significant anymore.
2. Address what's getting you distracted
Distractions are reasons we may stop doing something, as they remove our focus from what we need to do. They can be anything, ranging from activities that don't have anything to do with our work to matters that are more serious and require solving before they stress us further. Learning to deal with distractions is a good way of getting back on track and finishing what needs to be done.
3. Are you working on a SMART goal?
Sometimes, things can get difficult, making us give up on something. If it is a goal or project you are working on, one possible reason why you may not finish them is that they don't follow the SMART acronym. Simply put, what you are working on may not be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. In other words, you may be working on something beyond your current capabilities, and if you are, you may need to make adjustments to make your goal or work more achievable, giving you a higher chance of finishing what you start.
4. Need some help?
If work overwhelms you for some reason, and you feel like giving up, you may be doing something that requires time and effort from more than one person. It can be a large-scale project or anything that requires teamwork, and trying to go solo over such a thing will make it more challenging and make you drop what you are doing. However, getting help from someone can make the work more manageable, allowing you and your teammates to finish what seems to be an impossible task but is made possible due to the effort of more people working on it.
5. Start with smaller tasks first
Any massive undertaking can be overwhelming if you try to rush and don't break down your goals into smaller, more doable tasks. Things may look impossible to finish if you keep thinking about the great outcomes, so focus first on what you can accomplish today, then do it again the next day. You keep moving and accomplishing things on your to-do list until you finish bit by bit the tasks that comprise the whole of a big goal. It's like trying to eat a big piece of meat; you can digest it much easier if you slice it into smaller pieces and chew them one by one until you swallow the whole piece. Finishing things is easier if you gradually accomplish parts until they make up the whole.
6. Consider the progress, time, and effort you have made
Any endeavor will require you to put your time, effort, and resources into it. It can be a big waste if everything goes to nothing once you stop working on something. It will be worthwhile to look back at everything you have done so far and see how much progress you have made before moving to the next project or dropping your current work. Perhaps you can still make things work, push for the same goal you are working on, and see it to the end. Seeing your progress can motivate you to work on something again, as seeing your progress helps you think that you did something instead of nothing. Otherwise, if things can't work anymore, maybe you can save some of what you did and use them as a learning for your next endeavor.
7. Don't be too much of a perfectionist
Sometimes, the reason why we can't finish even such a simple task is that we may have very high expectations of what the outcomes should be. Perhaps we are trying to generate the best output, and as such, we delay work by repeatedly trying things until the ideal result happens. While creating a high-quality output is outstanding, it may result in too many delays and wasted efforts if too much time gets spent working on things instead of getting other things done. It can affect the work of others, especially deadlines. While perfection can be a good thing, we have to gauge its place in what we are doing as time constraints can be present, and we may never get to finish what we do due to being too much of a perfectionist. Sometimes, making progress is better than waiting for the perfect outcome.
In anything we do, committing and making it until the very end feels better. Dropping things and quitting feel like we don't accomplish anything. While it's okay to stop working on something if it is not benefitting us anymore, we should keep on working and doing something as long as it works and the result still holds value, and the possibility of accomplishing it is still there. Getting into the habit of finishing what you started is fulfilling and gives you a sense of accomplishment that you can do and commit to something.