13 Ideas to Start a Task and Finish It Successfully

finish_what_you_startHow many of you believe that success depends on good ideas? I think most of you believe this. Now if I go a step further and ask you whether success depends on good ideas or right execution of good ideas. Hopefully you will find yourself agreeing more to second statement as compared to first.

So you already know the mantra of success which is simple — generate good ideas and execute these ideas to perfection.

If attaining success is so simple then what stops a majority from achieving what they dream of. The primary reason is that most of us ideate but only a small number execute.

Those who execute and finish the task obviously stand a better chance to succeed that those whose ideas die on the ideation stage itself. If finishing takes you one step close to successes then why not to finish every task that you undertake. It is simpler than you think.

Here are 13 simple ideas that will help you blossom into a great finisher;

1. You need to start something before you can finish it.

Go start it, don’t wait for that perfect moment. Don’t sit on the idea for long, just get started. To put in a different way Just Do It as the Nike slogan suggests.

If you want to write a book, start by deciding a working title and writing that first paragraph. You can also choose to write a one page outline.   If you want to start an online store, decide on the product line and book a domain name.

If you need to submit a report to your boss or to your class-teacher (depending upon what age group you are in); start by collecting information from web, books and whatever other sources you choose. If you are an (aspiring) entrepreneur, start by building a demo (prototype) and go out to take feedback. If you can create a demo, sell and build in typical bootstrap fashion, who knows you can be tomorrow’s Michael Dell.

The idea is not to think too much before you start if it is not a high risk decision.

2.See that you starting with a worthwhile idea.

One word of caution before you start; make sure you are out to live your own dream and not somebody else’s. See that you are really keen and interested in the work that you are taking up. Do not start just because doing it is very cool.

You should have a genuine inclination towards pursuing it, should have skill-set to execute and the resources (physical energy, availability to time, investment if required).

Do not invest in stock market just because your friend made a killing investing in equity. Nothing to doubt intelligence of your friend; it is better to be inspired by legendry investors like Warren Buffet. He chose not to invest in technology stocks during the boom before internet bubble; because he did not understand technology.   Lesson to be learnt here — venture into a field that you understand.

Start something because you are passionate about it and you possess some skill set relevant to the task that you are taking up.

3. See that there are some rewards for you.

Start something which will provide some gain to you. It need not be monetary gain. The gain can be physical (better health through regular exercise); financial (wealth creation through regular saving); mental (clarity of thoughts through regular meditation); emotional (satisfaction due to having a romantic life that you desired). When you will see gain you will be motivated to take action.

4. Convert your task into actionable chunks.

If you want to finish a task successfully just break it into manageable chunks. Think of eating a big watermelon in one bite! What about finishing it one bite at a time.

Convert your task into goals or milestones. It can be done at ideation stage itself. Remember to create SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Tangible) goals and you will inch closer to success day after day.

It is good to get into habit of reviewing your plans and actions. It helps you keep on track. Sometimes en route the finish line you may miss some targets. Do not panic. Just relax for a while and speed up the accelerator. While speeding up just do a small check that you are headed in right direction. Further do not fear to change tracks if you feel that you are not moving in the right direction.

5. Make sure that follow-through is not too complex.

Promise of future gains and goal-setting can take you some distance; but if you want to keep on working make sure that follow through is not too complex.

If you are starting an exercise regimen to maintain good health then there is no point beginning with the most difficult form. Start with basic stretching and gradually move to more complex sets. What is complex today will be simple tomorrow. If exercising calls for extreme sacrifices you are least likely to sustain it. If good health calls for exercising then you should choose a regime that is practical and can be pursued day after day.

6. Focus on productive action.

It is important to note that your majority of your actions are productive. You do not need to be bound by any rules here but just see that your actions are taking you in the direction of your dreams. While you are focusing on productive action, keep allowing yourself regular fun time — time to spend with friends, family and with self (if you like it that way).

7. Celebrate small victories.

Celebrating small victories work wonderfully to take your closer to the goal. Firstly, it helps you realize that you are reaching there. This feeling helps a lot when you are pursuing a goal which is taking some time to achieve. Secondly it makes sure that follow through is not looking too-complex to you, further lowering your chances of quitting.

In most cases people leave a task unfinished when they see no success in sight. There can be other reasons also but this is the primary reason. Some of you may cite dog fight between stakeholders as one reason; but such fight appears when success looks far. If you smell success coming your way you are most likely to stay on track. Celebrating small victories help you realize that success is not very far from you.

8. Stay away from distractions.

It today’s world of excesses it is easy to come across various distractions. Most of these distractions will come in disguise. Internet comes in disguise as a source of useful information but can suck your time like a leech sucks the blood. Outings with friends come in the veil of fun and relaxation; but if done in excess can become a major hindrance and keep you away from your goal.

A useful gadget like TV remote control can take hours of your valuable time; if you choose to sit in couch and continue flipping channel one after another. Food which satisfies hunger and gives you energy to pursue any task can become a distraction if you choose to indulge in eating too much.

Best idea is to stay away from objects, gadgets and individuals that take you away from your goals. Avoid going to extremes with food, sleep and other essentials for life.

9. Make knowledge your friend and not your shield.

Many a times, people keep continue reading and act little. Their logic is to have perfect knowledge before they can start. In these fast changing times, better if you learn the basic stuff and get started.

Books and literature can be a big boost but they should not serve as a shield to keep you away from working on your real target.

When I started this personal development blog the idea was to create a resource where people can find pointers to make a positive difference in their lives. It need not be a big change but just a small idea, a little help.

I could have read 1000 more books in addition to a big chunk that I have already read. It would have provided me with more ideas and perspectives but by the time I would have finished reading my inclination to write may have been lost. It is just a scenario but highly possible one.

I felt that I possessed the skill and life-experiences to share some unique insights with you. There was no point in waiting till tomorrow when I may not have same excitement towards sharing these thoughts with you. I still read books and continue to learn from people I meet. I understand that learning is an ongoing process. There is no full stop in it.

The core idea here that make books and other resources (web) your friends — something that takes you forward on the path of action. How you can do that — read, learn; act to apply what you have learnt.

Yogi Sivananda’s words explain this best — “An ounce of practice is better than tons of theory.”

Somebody has said. “Knowledge is Power”. I say knowledge become power when acted upon. So choose to act and you will stand to gain.

10. Be in touch with your inner self.

Solitude will keep you on track. Find some time to be with your inner self wherever possible. During this period meditate, read out your intentions loud, make and review goals. It will be great if you can just sit silent and feel your breath going in and coming out. Initially this time of solitude can be a bit tough on you but later you will tend to enjoy it as it will be the time of recharge for you. You will feel like being plugged into an energy reservoir and getting charged.

An energized fresh human brain works like a fully charged mobile phone battery. It receives the ideas clearly, processes these ideas to perfection and provides clear output. The (solitude) recharge should provide your brain enough energy to perform its duty effortlessly.

11. Let go.

There will be times when things may not go as you like them to. In such a situation, the best strategy is to keep your cool. Realize that there are certain things we cannot control. We can control our actions, our speech, our association with people; but a natural calamity, unfavorable market condition or death of a loved one is beyond our control.

This understanding will keep you on path when things are not going your way. Be courageous to accept the reality if such a situation arises, do the best you can in that situation and march ahead with faith. I love — Prayer of Serenity — for the message it conveys. It can be your guiding light also. Here is the prayer;

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference.

12. Seek advice when required.

Go out and seek advice when you need it. Make sure to check who you are seeking the advice from. The person should be someone who has already lived a dream similar to yours. Such a person will be in the state to answer your queries, clear your doubts and mostly likely will point you in right direction.

If you want to become a swimmer go ask somebody who have excelled at swimming. Similarly if you want to be the CEO of a fortune 500 Company go talk to a fortune 500 CEO — current or past. With today’s means of communication you can reach just about everybody. It is best to start with an email as it is less obtrusive and can be responded to at the receiver’s convenience.

You may say why a big time professional will respond to your query. Make a strong case, show your passion for the work you are doing and most of them will respond. In such situation it helps if you have a strong personal brand.

If you cannot talk to a fortune 500 CEO, go to somebody who is accessible. Go to a person in your town or city who runs a small enterprise or CEO of a small company.

13. Stay on course long enough and you will succeed.

This point as per me — is make or break — when it comes to successfully finishing a task that you have taken up. Make sure that you are in it for the long haul. “Long enough” is the key here. Go on till the time you achieve what you want and success will be yours. I would love to hear if you are able to use the above ideas towards your pursuit of success. Let the success you deserve be yours.

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