Bad habits – in the beginning – are easier than good. The habit of almost finishing stuff destroys effectiveness, diminishes respect, and drains energy.
Anyone can start. Leaders finish.
People live with dangling rabbits pulling at their brain – unfinished stuff they intend to finish.
Rabbit chasers are exhausted. When your hands do one thing, but your head is thinking about the next thing, life zips past without you.
How to Develop the Habit of Finishing Stuff
#1. Finish one small thing before you begin the next thing.
Take something off your plate before you put something on it. It doesn’t have to be big. Here’s an example.
When I sit down to work, I might put a couple books back on the shelf before I begin something. You could:
- Throw something in the garbage.
- Save an unsaved document that’s hanging out on your desktop.
- Put something in its place.
- Close a few browser windows.
Caution: Don’t chase a dozen dangling rabbits. Finish one thing. It’s about the habit, not the rabbit.
#2. Begin-AND-finish small tasks.
Don’t create dangling rabbits by half-doing a task you can finish quickly.
Every dangling rabbit you create dilutes your ability to concentrate.
#3. When you leave your desk, put one thing in its place.
Before I leave my desk, I put my surface in the docking station and place the stylus in front of the docking station.
Before you break for lunch or go to your next meeting…
- Put away paper, pens, or headphones.
- Prepare your desk for the thing you’re going to do when you return.
“The shorter way to do many things is to do only one thing at a time.” Mozart
#4. Only start what you intend to finish.
Ask yourself, “Do I intend to finish this?”
Run a test if you aren’t sure you can finish. But always finish the test.
What bad habits create dangling rabbits?
What mini habits might help leaders develop the habit of finishing stuff?