Learn a Simple Trick to Re-Start and Finish
Wish you could figure out how to finish a major project that’s been dormant for too long? Want to know a simple trick that’ll help you re-start and finish any major project?
Maybe finally launch that book or business or website? Nail that extra-credit project at work?
We’ve all experienced this frustration: You’re halfway into that big project for work, and the deadline is approaching, but you have just zero motivation or energy right now to lift it up off that back burner and fire up the stove again.
Or, you’re down to the last mile — or meter, or inch — of your book or website re-design, but what remains feels like the most arduous slog of the whole dang thing!
Research-Based Strategies to the Rescue
Take heart. There are research-based strategies that can help you regain your clarity and energy to get back to work on — and blast through what remains of — your biggest ideas and projects. And I’ll share one of them with you here.
Just to set this up, in Crusher™TV Episode 109: How to Finally Finish Your Big Project or Idea, I shared four debilitating Barriers to Finishing Any “Big Thing,” and 4 evidence-based, get-it-done solutions for how to finish a major project or idea.
And there’s one solution that I didn’t have time to cover in that Episode, yet it’s absolutely killer for re-starting, re-engaging and finally finishing even your biggest, scariest projects. It’s called…
The Fresh Start Effect
Now, you’ve no doubt heard the phrase, “New year, new you!” And we’re all energized in some way, to some extent, by the prospect of that new beginning of the New Year, right?
Indeed, that chance for a fresh start gives us energy and purpose. It’s why every year 50% of us are motivated to create New Year’s resolutions.
But did you know that you can replicate this psychological and motivational effect any time?
Yep. You can do it with the first of the month. Or the 15th of the month. Or with next Monday! What? How??
Daniel Pink, in his bestselling book When, writes,
“Temporal landmarks interrupt attention to day-to-day minutiae, causing people to take a big picture view of their lives and thus focus on achieving their goals.”
He notes that Google searches for the word “diet” increase by 82% at the start of the New Year. Not surprising.
But — searches for the word “diet” also bump up 14% at the start of each new week! Year-round!
Gym attendance bumps up at the start of a new week – and immediately after people’s birthdays. This tells us that our brain is always looking for a temporal fresh starting point.
And you can use this phenomenon to dig back into that long-languishing project – or one that’s coming due pretty soon that you just can’t muster the dopamine or adrenaline to jump on right now.
How to Finish a Major Project with a Fresh Start
You can create any temporal landmark you like, any time. You can totally make it up! Here are some more thought-starters:
Plan to re-start on the 1st of the new month.
Declare that, before the weekend begins, it’s “Finish-It Friday.” Or “Start-It Saturday.”
Celebrate your birthday or your child’s birthday with a fresh start.
Anything can be a demarcation for re-starting. But you need to make a big deal about it, or it won’t fire you up. So here’s what I recommend:
Put it in your calendar – blocking off just an hour or so for that re-start — with an alert to pop up two days before, then one day before, and then day-of. Then be sure to singletask on that project for that hour – or even as little as 30min. — the key is that you…start!
Setting a fresh-start temporal landmark is not only a procrastination-busting brain hack. Research shows that it also allows us to “deliberate at a higher level and make better decisions.”
So – if you’ve got a project or a big idea that’s been stuck in neutral collecting dust or threatening to cause harm to your career (or your domestic tranquility), create a new beginning – a fresh start – with a temporal demarcation of your choosing.
Put it in your calendar and treat it like it’s New Year’s Day. Hey, Happy New Year! Or, Happy New Month! Or, Happy Monday!
Want More Solutions for How to Finish a Major Project?
As mentioned above, I dedicated an episode of Crusher™TV to How to Finish a Major Project, and I dig deeper into this topic.
Each Crusher™TV Episode is a well-researched “mini-masterclass” of evidence-based solutions on a specific productivity topic.
You might get a lot out of watching that entire episode of Crusher™TV where I share 4 Barriers to Finishing Any “Big Thing,” plus four get-it-finished solutions. (You can become a member for a buck and cancel any time.) It’s Episode 109, and you can preview it by clicking the image.
Alan P. Brown, an internationally recognized Productivity Coach, TEDx Speaker and #1 Best Selling Author of Zen and the Art of Productivity: 27 Easy Ways to Have More Time, Earn More Money and Live Happier is the host of Crusher™TV, where he and his Guest Experts share simple ways to get more done in less time with less stress. Follow Alan on Twitter and on Facebook.