“Why you can never finish anything and how to finally change it” is the un-unclickable headline on a Fast Company article I saw today.

You would not believe the lengths I go to to try and get things finished. Sometimes the pain of not finishing and still not getting on with it doubles me up with psychological pain.

I shout. I swear. I sulk. But I do not finish…

Some have their ways of deflecting criticism about their procrastination. They make themselves look incredibly busy (which is such hard work that of course they are incredibly busy).

You used to have to be very creative to do this once upon a time, but these days technology has solved the problem – email, Facebook or even Google will create enough busy-ness to keep you from being idle, or actually achieving anything you were supposed to.

So. This post.

This post, I am going to finish. Or now, even start… The article says:

Nearly a quarter of adults around the world are chronic procrastinators, according to research conducted by Joseph Ferrari, professor of psychology at DePaul University and author of the book Still Procrastinating: The No Regrets Guide to Getting It Done.

Read the article. Read the book. Or just start either and then get distracted by..

…and I’m back. Here’s the summary – these things stop you…

  • Fear of getting anything done.
  • Fear of setting the bar too high.
  • Not wanting to end the fun.

The curatives are all obvious and basically of the “grow up and get on with it” variety  – but it’s nice to hear how many others share my completer-finisher-aversion.

That Belbin team personality test has a lot to answer for by the way (that’s where “completer finisher” was first offered as a personality type). Tell someone they are in that category and not will they not gratefully, they will then go around invoking it as if it were some cross between a doctor’s note and a odd species of superpower. Yes, it was in my profile, and yes it has given me permission to leave all sorts of things unfinished for years.

On reflection, the solution is one-part habit forming and one stuff-it-all-and-remember-what’s-really-important.

I should forming a habit of finishing things to a certain stage – declare a state of acceptable “finishedness”, while remembering that nothing is ever nearly finished. Some stuff – books, emails, plans – don’t deserve to be finished – but rather than soldiering on with some Puritan work ethic nonsense, we should positively abandon them. Declare – that’s not worth my precious time, and drop it.

There. Finished.

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