“Finishing” is a theme in my groups this session. Finish unpacking, finish decluttering, finish doing taxes, finish the strategic plan, finish the projections for 2016.
The problem with “finishing” anything is that the reason you didn’t finish is still there. Maybe the project got too complicated, you got bored with it, or you don’t like to do it so you drag it out, and so on. Tackling unfinished projects requires you to find the motivation to go into energetically stale places.
I like the phrase “closing the loop” because it makes you see an incomplete project as a broken circle and to complete it all you have to do is close the loop. Closing the loop feels good, energizes you, gives you peace of mind, and opens up space for new things to come in.
When you have a lot of unfinished business around you the temptation is to get frustrated or worse depressed so here is a simple set of steps that I’ve watched my clients go through time and again to move through the inertia of an unfinished project.
- Get clear: List what you want to complete and why.
- Focus: Choose the one or two you want to commit to getting done.
- Make it black and white: Write down your steps.
- Avoid perfectionism: Double check, can you simplify?
- Schedule it: Carve out time by putting it in your calendar.
- Be accountable to yourself: Keep track of what you’ve done and what is outstanding.
- Celebrate: When you complete it, acknowledge it.
For example, I am making a reading tent for my kids. I have had the fabric and the pillows for months. I even put my first attempt completely together including attaching it to the ceiling, only to discover that the tubing I bought wasn’t strong enough to hold it’s shape under the weight of the fabric. I hit a snag, lost motivation, and left the project unfinished.
Last week I decided to re-engage with the project because I’ve been missing my creative side. I’m about 5 steps from being done but I have a lot on my plate and so I will work on it a couple of hours every other weekend. My plan is that by mid-November my kids will have a cozy little space to hang out and read their books.
It might seem like I’m not very ambitious but that’s not the case with me or you. The truth is that you are working on and finishing a lot in your life. However, it also feels good to close the loops that are hanging open around you. So be easy on yourself, have fun, and happy finishing!