Over the last few years, I have realized that we all struggle with finishing things up! In learning more about this, I read the book Following Through by Steve Levinson and Pete Greider. Some really simple concepts emerged from this short read. The book covers both new perspectives on why we fail to follow through and strategies for us to do so.
Even with the best of intentions, we fail to follow though. Humans operate on a primitive survival oriented guidance system. Whatever squeaks the louded and most, of course gets the attention. It often operates at cross purposes with intelligence based guidance. The intelligence based guidance comes from our brains thinking through what we want and how to logically complete a task. However, we can operate with a coordinated effort by both guidance systems if we make a plan to do so. As the book states, ” we don’t have a problem knowing what we want, just following through to do it.”
Two ideas were most valuable in following through on tasks. Personally and professionally, I tapped into both of these concepts.
Compelling reasons are a critical aspect of follow through. Make the reason for completioncritical to you and eliminate wiggle room for not completing a task. Compelling reasons include highly motivating accountability. Host an early meeting in your office so you must get your desk in order to start the day. Plan an anniversary party to clear the clutter in your family room. Pay an incentive to an assistant to get your work bid out on time. Each person has different ways and thoughts on what is truly compelling, from financial gain or loss to personal consequences. Tapping into your personal ideas is what makes the big difference.
Strike while the iron is hot makes use of our natural high energy to finish a task. While you are sensing urgency to complete a task do so. Use your intention to complete to help you finish up. Levinson and Greider use the example of while you are grateful, write your thank you note right away. They state “use your intention while your emotions are stirred.” Acknowledging that inspiration can fade, use it to full advantage while you feel it. Clear your clutter when you are most agitated and frustrated by it. Look at your credit card bill and pay it right away. When you hear a productivity tip you like, use it that day. Take the action while highly motivated.
If you are struggling with completing tasks, this is the book for you!