Letting Projects Get Empty

A lot of us have problems finishing what we’ve started. Michael Schechter’s Starters Anonymous is a loud message to those who get off on starting things but never follow through.

I have this problem too and try to account for it in the systems I use to track the things I get done. I talked about mirroring the areas of focus and responsibility I have in my life to OmniFocus so that I can use it as a measuring stick of my progress and potential. One of the parts of this framework is letting projects, folders, and single-action lists get empty. Projects and folders being empty doesn’t necessarily mean they are finished, just that you’re at a logical close and have a chance to adjust your course slightly. You have an opportunity to re-imagine what you can do in that focus. More often than not though, if you don’t have an obvious next action in your project, it is complete. It’s time for you to wrap it up. It’ll be a relief to get it off of your list. Starting something isn’t worth much unless it can be finished and you need to get good at finishing.

I think we often avoid finishing something because we may not know what’s next and find that scary. That’s fine. Let yourself be bored for a little while without a project to tackle. In that time, you’ll start to become curious about new and more interesting things. And the best part is that you’ll be free to pursue this cool new stuff because you’ve finished what you’ve started.

You can be checking things off of your list but without ever finishing anything, you’re not getting much done.