When it comes to starting and completing tasks, we tend to fall into one of three categories – those who never start anything whatsoever, those who are super dooper at starting things but not finishing, and those who are committed to starting things and triumphantly seeing said task through to its conclusion.
I am definitely in the second category. In fact, one of my school reports at the age of 10, made mention of this very fact.
‘Laura is good at starting projects but soon loses interest and becomes impatient to move on to something new. She needs to learn to finish tasks completely’
(Mr Garbutt, class 3. He looked like Frankenstein).
I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing is it? I mean, the world needs starters! For it then provides opportunities for other people to finish! (Is that a fourth category? Finisher?) If things didn’t get started, then….well…..where would we be? Maybe that is a question that requires more in-depth discussion than this low-brow blog might allow, and possibly needs to utilise intellectual brainpower from the likes of Stephen Hawking. It’s a question which could actually drive you mad, a bit like ‘how big is the universe’ or ‘why are we here?’ (a conversation I did in fact have with John at the weekend). But I digress.
Anyway, I am a Starter but not a particularly good Finisher. Mr Garbutt was right; he could see that I preferred to skip from one project or activity to the next, launch myself into it with full wholeheartedness and exuberance, absolutely relishing the creativity and anticipation of the job in hand – and then get bored of it.
Now this flaw does not normally tend to apply to projects that are reliant on providing me with an income, I hasten to add. If any current or future employers, partners, commissioners or investors are reading this then fear not – I will finish your project to the absolute detail as long as there is money involved.
But I have a pretty hefty list of personal tasks and projects of which I have started, and am yet to finish:
- Patchwork quilt – started 10 years ago
- Renovating the upstairs of our apartment – started 13 years ago
- Decorating the downstairs hallway – started 1 year ago
- Make-over of daughters bedroom – started 1 year ago
- Some cushion covers – started 3 months ago
- A wall-hanging – started 15 years ago
- A knitted throw – started 14 years ago
- Fencing our roof terrace – started 6 months ago
- Our Sri Lankan travel journal – started 2 years ago
- Our wedding photo album – started 3 years ago
- Communication with cat insurance company about elevated direct debit value – started 1 year ago
- A screen-play – started 6 months ago
I think it’s only reasonable that I should not be too hard on myself and give myself some credit for those things I am extremely capable of finishing:
Things I am good at Finishing:
- Bottles of wine
- Diets – usually almost instantly
- Other people’s sentences
- Plates of food – particularly roast dinners
- Packets of crisps
- A Work Day
I’ve been contemplating starting yet another project. I want to ‘upcycle’ a dresser top to keep our travel guides on. I might manage to finish this as it would probably only take a day to complete. If I write myself a little project plan utilising some of the things I know I can finish, I might just get the job completed. The project plan could look like this:
Maybe this is the way forward – understand the realities of what you know you can finish, and tie it in to every conceivable task which might present a