March 03, 2014
How many unfinished projects, plans, things to do, do you currently have? My guess it is many more than one. The deeper we get into our businesses and for that matter our lives, the more chance we have for accumulating these unfinished projects, because we realize there really is so much to do.
The unfinished may have been caused by not allowing enough time to complete them, the bright shiny object syndrome, lack of interest or just procrastination. It could be the urgent task that arises, or an interruption, or even an emergency. The worst part of this situation is that it often results in a feeling of being behind, overwhelmed, out of control and thus the possibility of it greatly impacting productivity and confidence. What causes this?
Yes, some of the “things” may have to be approached as in, how you eat an elephant. However, proper planning and time allocation can make the elephant bite sized.
How often do you have a plan and it gets derailed, often because you fail to stay focused on working your plan? How often have you jumped to priority 4 after completing priority 1, disregarding priorities 2 and 3, just because it feels good or is easier? How much better will it feel if priority 2 is completed before priority 4?
How often do you have a plan and then attend a conference call, read a book or article, listen to a cd and begin to apply it to your business, with total disregard of your plan? Or it could just be that something that you are more interested in crosses your mind, gains your attention and thus your plan goes out the window. Sometimes you abandoned what you had planned and follow that bright shiny object. Stop it!
Sometimes you get bored with a project and just put it aside. Some people are procrastinators and just wait and hope it goes away. Some hear the ping of an incoming email or text and drop everything to handle that instead of staying focused. And of course there are the phone calls. And, yes, sometimes there are genuine emergencies.
How many minutes per day do you spend rereading, revisiting where you were before a distraction? If you spend 15 minutes a day rereading or revisiting, starting over, trying to figure out where you left off, you have spent over 90 hours a year doing this. If you spend 1 hour a day rereading etc., it equates to over 6 weeks a year.
Some of my clients try to get everything done at once. Some try multi-tasking to juggle many projects and as a result, end up with a lot of unfinished projects. My advice is, if you truly intend on realizing a goal, you need to execute the strategies and actions that are needed to finish it completely. However, you also need to be focused, disciplined and determined to take control of your results and projects enough to work them through to the end. For example, if you are developing a marketing plan, document the goal, strategies, and actions you plan to execute to achieve that goal. Then begin working through each action and strategy until completion. Until it is fully engaged, before you begin the next strategy or attack the next goal. Stay focused. Stay disciplined.
Ask yourself how effective is multi-tasking compared to being focused. If you have the staff to delegate to, you can multi-task manage, however if you are by yourself or have limited resources, you truly need to be disciplined about doing A before B. It is like trying to market to everyone and not have a true targeted market, which can be costly and out of control.
Once you finish a project, task, strategy, it is done. It is not looming in the background aggravating you, gnawing at you, to get back to it—someday. Plus, how much time will you spend rereading or revisiting.
Quit going off on tangents—Stop it! In fact, go to YouTube and watch the Bob Newhart video called Stop it! It gets the point across.
Focus, discipline, and determination will enable you to finish it!