How to Follow Through and Finish (What I’m Learning)

fullsizeoutput_18bb

Do you have one of those creative brains that goes at the speed of light? Are you constantly coming up with new ideas for yourself and everyone around you? A business idea, an exercise plan, a new hobby to start, an online course to take, a skill to learn, a project to tackle, another book to read, and on and on.

The books on my nightstand are a good example. I have at least a dozen started, plus a few on my Kindle. And I don’t just have books on my nightstand, they’re inside my nightstand and on top of my dresser in stacks. I’m never sure which is the right one to start or if I’ll wish I had that certain one right at my fingertips. Heaven forbid I have to actually go downstairs to the library to search for a book I’m thinking about; better to have all the books in my room and be able to start it the minute I think about it.

Because of my love of starting things, I have about three different courses started on Lynda.com (to be fair to myself I have finished about five this year) and a watercolor course from an Australian artist that I started in January and haven’t returned to since February.

fullsizeoutput_cfb.jpeg

I am so close to finishing up my aromatherapy certification, but have a few loose ends to tie up and a bit more to study for the exam. Now would be a good time to sign up for a free four-day Aromatherapy summit next week, right? Um, no, but I did anyway.

Yeah, I love starting things, brainstorming new ideas, trying something new. I love dreaming about the possibility of whatever it is and the excitement that comes with starting. But I don’t admire other people who don’t follow through and I don’t admire myself for dragging my heels about finishing or dropping the ball on a project altogether.

fullsizeoutput_18b31.jpeg

Follow through, follow through. These two words have been following me around for over month now, like a toddler at my heels, whining for attention. I took a good look at my life and wrote down all the places I need to finish something. Things I need to and actually want to finish! And I asked myself what was my problem? Why don’t I finish things?

Since I’d heard about John Acuff’s book Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done, I decided to purchase the Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done and find out what he had to say on the topic. I wanted to learn about the causes and the solutions to this huge and common problem.

Here’s what he had to say: perfection causes most of us to quit before we start. If we can’t do it perfectly, we won’t even try. Sounds dumb, right? But it’s true! Like, if I can’t blog every single day of the week, with beautiful pictures and amazing content, I should just give up. But you know that sets us up for failure. Acuff recommends cutting your goal in half. This way the feeling of success of meeting a goal will spur you on to something else.

IMG_7883

Also, we get it into our heads that we have to do all the things. The truth is, if we are going to really focus on finishing one thing, something else might have to take a backseat for a while. Maybe I have to not vacuum as often, or get together with friends less often or miss watching the latest Netflix series if I want to finish up my aromatherapy certification soon.

He also talks about how the lie of having to do everything ourselves instead of asking for help delays the finish. Perhaps I would get the labels printed sooner for the new natural body care products I’m selling if I would accept Alan’s help rather than learning Photoshop now and doing it myself.

Learning what is holding me back and figuring out how to move forward is what I need to follow through and finish. The message and tips within this book were super helpful: I am already making progress on the stuff I was procrastinating over. In the past week, I was able to cross off three items off my Bullet Journal To-Do list. Finish is a short, funny, and super helpful read, so if you’re like me and have a tough time finishing, go get this book!

* This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you choose to make a purchase through one of the links here, it benefits me in a very small way at no extra cost to you!

Thanksgiving and Parkinson’s Law

 

DSCN5027

I only just heard about Parkinson’s Law this year, although I’ve lived it my entire life. Here it is: “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” It’s so true! If I have a month to prepare for a musical performance, I take that long; if I have a week, well, that’s how long it takes too.

And this carries over into how many possessions we acquire and store, how much food we consume, etc. If we have a large plate for dinner, we will fill it and eat everything on it. If we have a lot of closet space, or a garage, we’ll accumulate stuff until we fill the available space. This article from Medium posits that constraints are the best thing you can work with. Give yourself a shorter time to complete tasks and you’ll be more productive.

This article shows how you can use Parkinson’s Law to your advantage. I was thinking about Thanksgiving preparations, in particular. I guess we should all try making the list and then allotting ourselves a certain amount of time for each task.

DSCN5053

For example, I need to make sweet potato casserole, pumpkin pie, pecan pie and chocolate pie, all tomorrow. Yikes! All gluten free and dairy free. When I’ve made them and if they’re a success, I’ll share photos and recipes with you…

But I also need to take a trip around the corner to the Amish market to purchase spices for mulled cider and flax seed for my friend’s flax and lavender pillows. And then sew up the pillows. That feels like a lot. So I’ve got only one day and am going to become a pie making and flax warming pillow machine. I’m giving myself three and a half hours for the food and two hours for the pillows, plus a half hour for the shopping trip. By sundown tomorrow, I’ll be looking forward to an evening of reading and writing.

DSCN5108

 

 

I’ll report back on how my day goes…

What’s on your day-before-Thanksgiving Day list?