Don’t Start What You Can’t Finish….Really?

When there is something you really need to get done, have you ever had these kinds of thoughts:

  • Oh I will get to it later
  • I just have to do THIS first, and then I can start that
  • I don’t have time to get it all done, so I will wait till I have an entire day free, and then I will start

This is what I call a “don’t start what you can’t finish” mentality.

This line of thinking is paralyzing to the mind.  Because it keeps you STUCK exactly where you are.  While at the same time having you transfer the item to the next To Do List, and the next, and the next.  It’s a continuous loose end.  And what happens when you have a loose end?  You keep mulling it over in your mind, over and over.  It’s like having “clutter” in your head.  Add a few more “loose ends” and your mind is an absolute spaghetti factory!

So the first thing I always tell people is “get it out of your head, and on to paper”.   Okay, that’s a great start.  But don’t just leave it on the paper and keep looking at it day after day – you need to tackle it.

When we look at a big task it is sometimes so overwhelming that we can’t even bring ourselves to begin.  The best thing to do with large projects is to break them down into smaller chunks.  That eliminates the overwhelm. 

But what about the “don’t start what you can’t finish” mentality?  Well first you start with getting it out of your head and on to paper.  Then you need to break it down into smaller chunks.  After that, you absolutely need to put it into your schedule.  Yes – a planner, calendar, or whatever you use.

You know how important your doctor’s appointments are right?  As well as anything your kids have planned?  Well now it’s time for you to make YOU important!  That includes anything you need or want to get done.  So if it’s important to you – get it scheduled in like you schedule everything else.  When you block off the time, you eliminate the objection of not having enough time to do it.

I used to fall into this trap with my Income Tax every year.  I hated doing it.  It is so much paper shuffling and sorting, and then lots of calculations, before I even got to the point where I could start inputting the information into the tax program on my computer.  I’m a people person – so this kind of administration work is daunting for me.

It would happen year after year – putting it off, don’t have time to finish etc.  I would get myself into a state where I had to rush to get it done in time.  Yet when I did it, it always seemed like “well that wasn’t that bad”.  And the SATISFACTION of having done it was an AMAZING feeling!

So, I started focusing on the AMAZING feeling that I would have when I completed it.  From there I would get the papers out and place them on the dining room table (so they were in my face).  That was the start.  Next day I’d grab one pile and sort through.  And for some reason, once I’d “started” it just seemed natural to keep going.  I did – I finished – I conquered!  Da-da!!  So that’s another way to help you start tackling something.

I know, I know, it sounds silly.  But trust me – the struggle in your mind is really in the “starting”, not the actual task itself.

Try it!  You’ll see for yourself.