5 steps to finish what you start

5 Steps to Finish What You Start

finish what you start
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Do you often struggle to finish the projects you start, even when you have every intention of finishing them? Are you currently struggling with a specific project (or ten) in your life that you can’t seem to finish? Let me guess, do you have more than a few household tasks on your to-do list?

Don’t worry – you aren’t alone. Many people struggle to follow through on their tasks. Believe it or not, this is a common problem that most people face. As we look into the very near future, we probably want to start setting goals for next year. Luckily, you can follow a few steps to ensure that you can become the type of person who finishes a project once you start it.

1. To finish what you start, Make A Plan

First and foremost, the number one way to finish everything you start is by making a plan before you start. It needs to be a plan which you write down. A mental note isn’t worth the piece of paper it is written on. You may want to jump in and start something in your excitement, but you might not realize all the work and challenges you will face.

When you take the time to make a plan, this will better prepare you for the task at hand, and you’ll be able to spot problems much more easily. A well-thought-out plan ensures you will be aware of the work your project requires and have an idea of how you will proceed. It is also a good time to break the project into smaller chunks to make it easier to conquer. Don’t forget to take some time to brainstorm potential problems you may encounter along the way.

2. To stay on track, Take A Break

If you find yourself getting overly frustrated or beginning to loathe the project because you’ve been working on it for so long, it’s okay to take a short break. This break will help reset your mind and focus. Get hydrated, move around, find some time to take in the present world around you. You might even be able to solve some of the problems you are facing while you take this little breather. Just make sure that when you set an endpoint to your break, this way you can hold yourself to it and not just abandon the project.

3. To make it more achievable, Make Small Goals and Track Your Progress

As you plan how you will conquer your task or project, break your goal into smaller mini-goals. Then, cross them off and reward yourself as you complete them. It will help keep you on task, and you’ll be able to feel as if you are making progress, even if it’s small.  This progress will do wonders to keep your spirits high while working on the project. The little rewards you are giving yourself will probably help too.

Many projects remain unfinished because they are long, and you lose sight of the end goal somewhere in the middle. To maintain motivation, you need to track your progress on the goal as you go. You may even want to consider rewarding yourself for a job well done at certain points to maintain your motivation.

4. To stay focused, Identify Your Distractions

Maybe you’re finding every reason under the sun not to work on your project. It’s time to identify these distractions and how they may be affecting you. If the distraction is easily removed, remove it. If it’s more of a mental distraction, it may be time to look into something like meditation to help you clear your mind. Whatever your distractions are, it’s time to identify and eliminate them so you can focus on your goal.

5. To stay motivated, Visualize The End

Even if you are tracking your project, you may find that you’ve lost sight of your end goal. This is why you should frequently spend time visualizing your end goal in your mind. It will help you remember why you are working on your goal in the first place.

Finishing what you start is never easy. So next time you get excited about a new project or goal in your life, slow down a bit and make a plan, complete with smaller goals and rewards for yourself. Then, as you pursue the project, don’t be afraid to take small breaks if you need to recuperate. Chances are, thanks to these steps, you will be much more likely to finish your new goal than leave it abandoned.

BONUS –> The Top 3 Reasons You Don’t Finish What You Start

Do you feel as if you are constantly leaving a trail of half-finished projects in your wake? Are you the type of person who has one project in particular that you’ve always wanted to finish but just haven’t gotten around to it? If that sounds familiar, keep reading to find the top three reasons you tend not to finish what you’ve started.

1. You’ve Lost Motivation

When you started the project, your enthusiasm for starting something new first motivated you. However, if you haven’t seen any results in some time, this may have caused your motivation to lower. The best way to combat this loss of motivation is by breaking your project down into more manageable pieces and rewarding yourself along the way for steps well done. Conquering these more manageable pieces will help keep you motivated even when the project is long.

2. Negative Thoughts About The Project

Another reason you may find it difficult to complete a task is because of the way you think about the project. When it comes to mind, do you think you will never finish it? Or is your mind filled with thoughts of how hard the project is? Both are negative paths of thinking, and they will keep you from finishing the project. Instead, it’s time to transform your thinking to be positive regarding the project you are trying to complete. A more positive outlook will give you new energy and motivation to complete the task.

3. Lack Of Discipline

Another reason people can’t finish the projects they start is a lack of self-discipline. A person with self-discipline doesn’t give up when the going gets tough. They also tend to avoid procrastinating or slacking off. If this sounds familiar to you, it’s probably time that you work to cultivate self-discipline in your life. Boosting your self-discipline will ensure you can start finishing all the projects you start.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it important to finish what you start?

It is the sense of accomplishment when it’s done!  Your cross stitch project is ready for the holidays in time; you finished the book club novel just in time; your closet has so much empty space in it.

What happens if you need to change the plan?

That is OKAY!  Projects are fluid and evolving, especially large ones.  I don’t know how often I’ve redesigned my fall vegetable garden and I’m okay with that.  I will still end up with delicious lettuce and piles of cucumbers even if the cucumbers are in a pot instead of my raised bed.

What if you decide not to finish what you start?

Realistically, there are numerous reasons that this is actually valid.  Maybe the project is no longer relevant; maybe it ended up requiring more resources that you realized; or maybe it didn’t turn out to be the project you had in mind. If the scope has changed drastically, then maybe change your perspective on the project — look at it like adapting with the project instead of giving up on the project.

proactive time management

The best 5 proactive time management tips

“Proactive time management? That’s crazy talk Lori, I can barely keep up let alone be proactive about things!” But wait, let me help with the 5 helpful tips below!

proactive time management
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There’s no denying the fact that we live in a ‘pressure cooker’ world with a never-ending barrage of commitments, deadlines, catastrophes and other events that demand our attention and time.

Now more than ever before, people are feeling the stress of not having enough time to do anything. They always feel like they’re behind the 8-ball and playing catch-up.

The truth of the matter is that no one can manage time. It will pass you by anyway. What you need to do is manage is your life and where your attention goes… and this is how you do it…

1. Shut out the noise

In order to find some semblance of peace and order, you’ll need to eliminate the pointless distractions in your life. That may mean getting off social media for a few months. It may mean turning off the news on TV (which never fails to rile you up). By eliminating these energy-draining ‘parasites’, you’ll have more time for what matters.

2. Prioritize

Always do what matters when it matters. For example, focusing on the tasks which have the highest return in your life. If you’re a writer, that will mean focusing on your writing first thing in the day.

Too often, we keep what’s crucial for later – because the work is ‘unappetizing’ and the procrastination helps to delay the unpleasantness of the task. However, this just delays the inevitable and makes the process worse than it has to be.

Instead, by getting the hardest tasks out of the way FIRST, you’ll not only feel more accomplished, but will have more time to breeze through the easier tasks because now you feel ‘lighter’ from having done what you were avoiding.

3. Follow a daily routine

While many people will frown at the idea of routine and structure in their life because ‘being controlled’ is anathema to them – the truth is that with structure comes freedom.

After all, you’ll be deciding on your own daily routine. This is not a military regimen where you need to follow orders from a barking sergeant. No no… this is your routine.

You can tailor it to suit your life. The key point to note is to do the needful in an efficient manner so that your commitments and work are met in an orderly manner. Some of the most important aspects of proactive time management.

Routine will eliminate a lot of decision fatigue in your life. You’ll know exactly what to do every single day and can coast through it in ‘flow state’ while you accomplish more with less effort. Doesn’t that sound fantastic?

Of course, it does!

4. Be more organized

This simple tip will save you hours of frustration and stress in the long run, not to mention the time savings too. Declutter your home so that it’s neater and requires less cleaning. Check out these five ways that decluttering can actually maximize your personal resources.

The same applies to your desk/workspace. The more orderly and neat things are, the less time you’ll need to spend searching for the items you need – and you won’t end up wasting time and energy.

5. Set deadlines

Remember the drill sergeant from earlier? Well, deadlines are like invisible bosses that keep prodding you to stay focused and complete the tasks on time. Always have deadlines for any job you do, and give yourself slightly less time than you think you’ll need.

Parkinson’s law states that the amount of work expands to fill the time available for its completion. So, the less time you give yourself, the faster you’ll get the work done. Of course, be reasonable with your deadlines.

They should motivate you to work faster, but not be so unreasonable that they annihilate you. Just remember the differences between busy and productive.

Apply these 5 time management tips in your life and you’ll be amazed at how much more productive you become, and you’ll not only free up your time, but your stress levels will drop considerably. Start implementing them in your life today!


Frequently Asked Questions

What is proactive time management?

Being proactive with your time management means being “in front” of it” instead of constantly feeling reactive to situations. You intentionally make plans and follow through with those plans. And yes, sometimes things crop up or the unexpected happens. But when you have a plan in place, you can take care of the “surprises” and then easily get back to your plan.

How can you be proactive in managing your time?

In addition to the five specific tips above, the general rule is to make some sort of plan and stick with it. Even if you don’t block specific times for specific tasks (i.e., I will vacuum at 10:00 AM), knowing that you will empty the dishwasher and vacuum all the bedrooms sometime before the kids get home from school then you have a plan with a deadline.

How does time management improve productivity?

When you manage your time effectively, you don’t spend your time wondering what to do next. When you spend precious time trying to figure out your next task, you end up losing out on your productivity.

Is productivity the same as time management?

They are not the same thing however they are close partners and usually walk hand-in-hand. And typically if you improve your skill at one, your skill at the other will follow suit!

Inspiration and Motivation for your Planner

When you think about your planner, what inspires you in your designs and decorations? How do you find your inspiration? What motivates you to keep it accurate and up-to-date? Whether you use a pre-printed planner, a plain dot-grid journal, or a collection of printables — we all add our own mark to our planner system!

Where do you look for your planner inspiration?

When you sit down, how do you decide on the month’s theme or layout?  Do you base your designs and decorations on the season?  On the holiday of month?  On a personal event happening in that month?  If you’re like me, it’s all over the map depending on what I have planned for the month.

  • A lot of the time mine is based on the time of year – floral for spring, beautiful leaves for autumn.  But if I have a particularly big event in a month, I might switch it up.  In April of this year, I have a family wedding to attend so the design might include doves or wedding bells.
  • While electronic organization has it’s advantages, I almost always circle back to organizing in paper.  If for no other reason than I love my stickers and washi tapes!
  • I’ve even mixed up the mood trackers based on the overall design on the month.  If you aren’t integrating a mood tracker, you should give it a try!

How do you stay motivated to use your planner?

When life gets busy, productivity and habits can start to fall by the wayside.  How do you stay on track with using your planner?

  • When I started my first bullet journal, I actually put “bujo” as one of the habits in my habit tracker!  It helped me build the habit that is now instilled in me (for the most part).
  • Having all your journaling habits and supplies in place makes it so much easier to accomplish your planner goals.
  • For a little help or inspiration, check out these planner habit suggestions to cement it as part of your daily life.

A collection of ideas and designs – check them out!

This post may contain affiliate links and I may earn a small commission when you click the links but at no additional cost to you.

Here are just a few products to give you some ideas and inspiration for your journaling.  Some of them are brand-new products and some of them are just my favorite products!


Erin Condren Ettavee Ultimate Planny Pack


Erin Condren Layers Planner Folio


Coco and Opal Design Sticker Club