Posted in Bookish

Finish What You Start


Title:  Finish What You Start: The Art of Following Through, Taking Action, Executing & Self-Discipline.

Author: Peter Hollins

Author Nationality: American


Publisher: Createspace Independent

Year Published/ Release:  March 2018

Pages: 207 (paperback)

Book Version:  Kindle Ebook


This book mainly addresses a common struggle that we all experience at some point in our lives. Hollins shares the reasons behind starting a task and not finishing it. He has listed the challenges in a way that is easy to understand and provided solutions that are realistic and easy to adopt. Here are some of the insights Hollins came up with to improve one’s efficiency.

  1. We do not finish what we start because of inhibiting tactics such as setting bad goals, procrastination, indulging temptations, distractions, poor time management, and psychological roadblocks such as laziness, lack of discipline, fear of judgment rejection, failure, perfectionism out of insecurity and a lack of awareness.
  2. We are driven by different reasons to finish what we start. This involves external and internal motivators. External motivators are those that drive you to a negative consequence to serve as a way to push yourself to do something after all no one wants to suffer. Part of this involves having accountability partners who hold you accountable to ensure you keep going and accountability groups that are said to be more effective. Then there is self bribery where you promise yourself a reward if you follow through.
  3. Internal motivators are the “why” for taking action and putting in the effort such as how will your life change or benefit? How will your family benefit? what impact will you have on others and what positive emotions will you get?
  4. Create a manifesto that is a set of rules to follow every day; for example, ask yourself “are you acting out of laziness, and is this a characterization you want about yourself?”  Therefore anything we want to accomplish has an associated opportunity cost so we must sacrifice. Rules take the guesswork out of our days and give us guidelines to follow.
  5. Take on three major tasks a day then learn how to differentiate between important, and urgent tasks and simple wasted motion.
  6. Create daily limitations and requirements for yourself to keep you within the bounds of what you know you need to do. These add up to the building blocks of good habits.
  7. Look through the future and identify whether you like what you see when you consider not following through. Following through is 100% mental(mindset) it is all worthwhile if you hold the belief that hard work can lead to improvement. Believe in your own abilities and become comfortable with discomfort-everything you want to do will have elements of discomfort.
  8. Without following through there is no learning-it is only when you finish something that you can evaluate yourself and correct your errors. Embody an information-gathering mindset. Allow learning as it is a way to test and score yourself based on your progress. Giving up is an automatic failure instead ask yourself ” what can I learn from this?”
  9. Poor moods are dangerous to your productivity, beware of them, follow through and take measures to modulate your stress levels.
  10. Tackle procrastination through temptation bundling. This happens by combining unpleasurable tasks with something pleasurable. Start easy and small to make the path to motion and action as easy as possible. Eventually, you can gain momentum.
  11. Minimize distractions in your environment. Out of sight out of mind. Curate and design your work environment in a way that boosts your productivity. Focus on single-tasking to avoid creating attention residue. Develop a Don’t do list.
  12. Adopt the 40-70 rule to beat in-action through the amount of information you seek. i.e if you have less than 40% information, don’t act but if you have 70%   you must act for you will never have 100% and chances are 70% is more than sufficient to proceed.
  13. When you want to do nothing from time to time, it is a time for rest and relaxation additionally, think of it as mental recovery.
  14. False hope syndrome is when you expect that you will be able to change or improve to an unrealistic degree. Overthinking is sneaky because it feels like action and it even feels productive but it’s not. Overthinking is when you fixate and can’t seem to take the first step toward action so focus on what you can do right now and only right now.
  15. Know yourself well enough to know how you work and produce the best e.g time of day, environment, and setting. Knowing yourself is the ability to look at yourself and understand why you may have failed or come up short. it is the ability self diagnose and be self-aware.
  16. Set up daily systems for success i.e a set of daily behaviors. Keep a scoreboard for everything large and trivial this keeps you motivated and striving toward growth and progress.
  17. Manage your time better by understanding how long things will take in reality and accounting for your own inefficiencies.
  18. Gather all the information and materials you need all at once and before you get started. This allows you to work interruption-free and gather momentum.

My take:

Efficiency comes as a result of daily improvement.

While a daily to-do list is important, a not-to-do list is a great reminder of the habits that can easily slow down progress.

When you gather all the resources you need, in essence, you avoid wasted motion and improve your focus on delivery.

This book serves as a great guide to improving efficiency and getting things done.

Memorable Quote (s):

“Self-discipline is what enables you to get your head down and work when you need to, even if you don’t want to. It’s the ability to control yourself so that you retain focus on what needs to be done, despite the temptations and distractions you may encounter. This element is essential to following through  because its what gives you the power to regulate your own thoughts, feelings, and actions toward ends that are meaningful.”

“Persistence is firmly sticking to something for a prolonged period of time, even as you encounter things that try to unstick you.”

“saying no to some tasks is just as important as saying yes to the correct ones.”



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