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Always finish what you have started

There’s this friend of mine who seems destined to end each and every project of his with nothing but success. I once asked him to share his secret.

He said, “Before taking on any new project, I always complete the previous work undertaken. That ensures that I single-mindedly, and successfully, finish every project I take up!”

These words immediately reminded me of a verse by Chanakya: “Activity is that which brings about the accomplishment of works undertaken.” (6.2.2)

Very few people are good at completing the work they already have. Indeed, almost all of us keep on taking new projects, accept new orders and even pick up new books to read without asking ourselves, “Shouldn’t I first complete the existing one?”

No wonder we land up with various problems like stress, atrocious time-management, and a pathetic work-life balance. Why don’t we first complete the work we already have at hand?

Chanakya says that this happens because we are not ‘active’. We have to ‘act’ to complete all existing work. There’s simply no alternative to this.

And you only need a few steps:

If we really discipline ourselves by completing all unfinished tasks, we will grow in self-confidence and even yearn for bigger challenges.


List all pending work

If you want to see why your life is in a mess, try this simple exercise: List the number of activities that you have started but not completed or finished till date.

It could be finishing a report, calling up and thanking the organisers of an event, or simply completing that book you picked up. If you’re honest, you will be shocked at the size of your list!

Plan it, and do it

Now, list the time required for completing each unfinished work. For example, it may take a half-hour to finish that report. Or about five to 10 minutes to call and thank the organisers of that party. Or the book that you started reading and left midway may take about three hours more to finish.

Keep sometime, say about one hour daily, to complete these unfinished tasks. Very important: Actually ‘DO IT’, and don’t just think about doing it.

Make it a habit

This exercise may look difficult initially. After all, we all do get into the dirty habit of procrastinating. But if we really discipline ourselves by completing all unfinished tasks, we will grow in self-confidence and even yearn for bigger challenges.

The chairman of a multinational firm once revealed to me that he spends his Saturdays just to complete any work that may have been left unfinished. This shows how important is to be a good finisher rather than just being a good starter.

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