“I don’t start something unless I know I’ll finish it.” That’s what my wife told me yesterday in our kitchen. And I wonder how many others operate like she does. I wonder how many potential ministries haven’t been started because the would-be ministry leader didn’t feel confident they could see it through and finish. I wonder how many potential books haven’t been written because the would-be author didn’t feel they could finish.
Others of us operate on the other side of the pendulum (or somewhere in between the two) where we habitually start things only to have our started project destruct into oblivion because of discouragement.
So whether you’re an I’m-not-starting-unless-I-know-I’ll-finish-it person or an I’ll-start-this-I-just-don’t-know-how-to-finish-it person, I have some hope to share with you.
5 Keys to Finishing Your Next Project
1. Evict Perfectionism
Perfectionism is the enemy to finishing. Start your next project with the following conviction: THIS WON’T BE PERFECT AND THAT’S OKAY! Sorry about all caps, I just wanted to make sure you yelled that at yourself. Seriously.
You know what can be improved upon? A project that has been completed to its first iteration, its first draft. You know what can’t? One that isn’t done.
Your new first impressions ministry that is re-organized and re-focused won’t be perfect. But it will be better than it was.
My latest major writing project isn’t perfect, but you know what? It’s finished. And after some edits, it’s ready to go.
2. Cut It In Half or Double It
What you’re able to do here is going to be dependent on the context of the project. But consider this wisdom from Jon Acuff: “Few things demoralize a workforce like a leader who doesn’t pick the right-sized goal.” The point? You may be audacious and pick the largest, most complex project to venture out on. Yay! Only, you haven’t seen any small or medium-sized project through to completion so what you’re really doing is setting yourself and your team up for disappointment.
So, instead of doing that, try cutting your goal, your project in half. You may have a list of 40 things that are going to be implemented into your project before the project is finished. Awesome. Now, just cut that to 20 and get that project finished. Or, let the 40 things just be on a list that never turns into a finished project. Yikes. But what about the other 20 awesome things, you ask? I’m glad you asked. Do those 20 things as project 2.0.
But sometimes you can’t just cut a project in half, right? So when you can’t do that, hopefully, you can do this: double your timeframe. Instead of making your project due to be done by next week, give yourself another week.
3. Identify What You’ll Say No to
We’re finite people operating in a finite world. You can’t just add project after project after project to your already busy schedule. If you want to finish your next project, you have to identify what you’ll say no to while you’re working on that project.
Only you can know how that works out in your context.
4. Know How You’re Motivated
Some are motivated by rewards. Others are motivated by fear.
If we do this, awesome things will happen and we’ll all see these things happen. Woo!
If we don’t do this, terrible things will likely occur and we’ll miss out on seeing this happen. Ugh!
Know how you’re motivated and use that to your advantage.
5. Read Jon Acuff’s Book, Finish
The first four keys in this article are from his new book, Finish which I highly recommend.
In fact, I think this book is something to go through with your elders or leadership team. Not only will everyone benefit from this book in their careers, but they’ll be able to use the principles Acuff lays out to do more kingdom work that makes more of an impact in your community.
Just imagine what things could be done for God’s kingdom if you, your leaders, and key volunteers were to know how to finish.
Give yourself the gift of done.
Get Jon Acuff’s latest book, Finish. It’s a game-changer.
What was the last thing you finished? What helped the most?
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