Charlie Gilkey on Start Finishing, Part 9

In his book, Start Finishing: How to go from idea to done, Charlie Gilkey discusses how we can follow a nine-step method to convert an idea into a project and get the project done via a reality-based schedule.

These are some of my favorite concepts and takeaways from reading the book.

Chapter 9, Build Daily Momentum

In this chapter, Charlie discusses some tactics for building and maintaining momentum while we do our best work. He offers the following recommendations for us to think about:

  • Celebrate the small wins as we move things forward. Celebrating small chunks of progress can enable us to celebrate big finishes when we get there.
  • We should create habits and routines that make it easier to build and maintain momentum. Figure things out in advance can minimize decision fatigue and create more prolonged periods of flow.
  • Leaving crumb trails for projects makes getting back into projects more enjoyable and efficient. First, we need to leave ourselves enough time at the end of a focus block to leave breadcrumbs. Second, we need to be honest with ourselves that the momentum we have at the end of a focus block will not be there when we get back to the task.
  • We need to distinguish and minimize interruptions and distractions. Interruptions are external diversions that keep us from doing our best work, while distractions are internal diversions that we allow ourselves to experience.
  • There are three ways that a project gets stuck:
    • A project cascade happens when a project falling behind makes other projects fall behind.
    • A project logjam happens when we have too many concurrent projects.
    • A tarpit happens when a stuck project gets more stuck the longer it stays stuck.
  • The creative red zone is the last stretch of the project, where the closer we get to the finish line, the harder it is for us to cross the finish line. This feeling is the “Resistance” calling us. Here are some tactics for countering the “Resistance.”
    • Remind ourselves of the “why” of the project and double down on our effort to return to it.
    • Focus on getting the result good enough.
    • Remind ourselves that the more something matters, the better is it that we start finishing sooner.
    • Understand that toward the end; we are usually just working on our mindset.
    • Finally, do our work, then step away.