My fingers hurt from writing the old fashioned way. The whole pencil-to-paper thing, I'm way over it.
So I'll be leaving my journal entries right here on this blog space.
And today we're talking about FINISHING a project before you START a new one. This one hits close to home for me because it feels like I have, at this moment, at least a dozen projects all going on, all spinning like plates on long flimsy chopsticks above my head, each one taking enormous energy to keep spinning but not having any of the payoff of money thrown in the hat at my busking station underneath the ground by the subway. What I mean to ask is this:
Have you ever felt like you're working just to work? Have you lost sight of the Big Payoff?
IT'S NOT EVIL TO THINK ABOUT THE REWARD
In fact, I would argue that it's wrong, backwards, unhealthy to STOP thinking of the reward.
Because if you do that, this is what happens.
You'll wake up, pour your coffee, check your emails, wash your dishes, go to your day job (or night job, or Uber driving job whenever you want), and go make your money, deposit a check, come home, check Facebook, scroll Instagram, watch Netflix, put on your jammies and go to bed. Then you'll get up, and do it all again. And before you know it, you will have MAYBE started some worthwhile endeavors; but your sure as heck haven't finished any of them. Here is the scary part:
You'll start to wonder why nothing is happening. Why is there no PAYOFF??
It's because you haven't finished the project.
We can make some way off-base conclusions if given to just the right cocktail of unhealthy habits over a long period of time. Maybe these sound familiar:
"I'm just not a super business-y person."
"This is just the way my mind works."
"This is just something I've always struggled with."
"There's nothing wrong with a little relaxation."
Now, don't get me wrong, I think there could be a lot of truth in all of these statements. But take a moment to see the LIE in each of them as well. Declaring oneself "not a super business-y person" could become the excuse of "I won't engage in any business; that's for someone else to do. I'll just do my passion." Or with the simple phrase, "there's nothing wrong with a little relaxation," one could rightly believe that it can be healthy to detach from work for a while and rest. But one might also take it too far and conclude that "a little relaxation" needs to permeate one's life every day, and that relaxation is the answer to long-term happiness. These kind of lies take us away from the path that leads to a great finish, and the great reward of a project well done. But before we can taste the reward of a finished endeavor, we need to start.
START WITH A GREAT START
I know we're talking about that elusive finish line, actually getting these hundred-and-one projects done so we can reap the reward. Maybe you finally want to get around to completing that masters course so you can pursue your dream job. Or you want to get your business fully funded so you can launch next year. Or you want to reach a fitness goal and finally get serious about your diet. Or for me, finally get some music out there that makes a difference in the world. Whatever it is, we have to remember that EVERYTHING IS AGAINST YOU getting what you want.
That might seem extreme. Let me explain.
For this world to work (i.e. for others to get what they want), you have to do the things that they want you to do. For instance, for Netflix to work, you have to sit and watch Netflix. For Instagram to work, you have to post, scroll, and engage Instagram all the time. Sound familiar? Here's the thing:
You're already playing an active roll in letting others get what they want.
They've got you. Totally hooked, dished, eaten for breakfast. And we do exactly what they want us to do without getting any closer to our own goals and dreams. I'm not grilling Netflix and Instagram- I think these are both ingenious, amazing platforms that can do great things and provide a lot of value. But I also think that YOU have great things--projects that you might be working on RIGHT NOW--that can provide enormous amounts of value.
How do you start with a great start?
If you plan when and where you will visit Instagram--because you will visit Instagram--then YOU are in control of it. It doesn't own you, and it doesn't encroach on the real estate of your dreams and vision for your life. So make a plan, visit, scroll, post to your Story, then put it away. Same goes for Netflix: what show, when will you watch, how many episodes? Make a limit and stick to it.
Just as you plan on what to do that may take away from working, plan your time that adds to your work, getting you closer to your goals.
Try this: before you go to bed, plan out each hour, even each half-hour, of the following day. What needs to get accomplished to make that project a little less just-started and a little more almost-finished? I like to use a white board and physically draw the check boxes for things as simple as going to the grocery store, sending back notes on a mix for a new song, or replying to an important email. You will see and feel the task get done- it's so satisfying!
Whatever your method is get out and START STRONG so that you can FINISH STRONG.
YOU have something to add, and the world has been waiting too long to see it.
It's time you changed that :)