See It Through: 5 Steps to Finishing What You Start

If you're plagued by a half-finished to-do list, and partially completed projects are taking over your life, here's a plan.

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By Adam Toren

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

An inventory of never-completed projects, initiatives and objectives doesn't get you to success. Learning to actually finish your mission is one of the best lessons you'll learn as an entrepreneur.

Related: The Psychology of Getting More Done (In Less Time)

Every day you're juggling multiple balls to keep your business and personal life going, but sometimes you need to focus on one task at a time to see it through to completion or risk having many incomplete things. Finish what you start with these five steps.

1. Decide to finish. The first step of finishing is to make the decision that no matter what, this lingering task or project will linger no longer. Tell yourself you're going to alter your behavior and approach to actually complete what you start. Sometimes this will mean saying no to more things up front so they never make it on the to-do list to begin with, making it easier to eliminate unnecessary busy work.

2. Make a plan. You know you want to get some of your tasks completed, but what's the plan? Break down each task into doable, daily action steps, or if it's something you can finish in a day, into an hour-by-hour plan to completion. Knowing your plan and sticking to it will be crucial to actually getting things done. Oftentimes this will mean setting a plan to create calendar boundaries where your staff and family aren't allowed to access you so you can work uninterrupted.

Related: How to Get Everything Done By Doing Less

3. Start. You've made a plan and broken it down into actionable steps to help you attack and complete the project. The next most important step is to start. Don't wait until the morning or after lunch, get started now. Start tackling the first action step in the plan and don't wait to get going.

4. Make your deadlines. Your plan should include deadlines. Commit to them. Most people don't finish what they start because they find excuses. Some days you may have to stay late, skip lunch or come in early to push through to complete the steps of your action plan. Do what it takes as part of step one, your decision to finish, to keep moving forward to completion.

5. Don't just finish, complete. You've made the decision, made the plan and carried on to see the project through. It feels great to get a huge task off your plate, but there's one last important step to finishing: completion. When the task is done, make sure it's complete by ensuring it's stored, shared or saved appropriately.

Related: How to Stop Over Thinking and Get Things Done

Adam Toren

Serial entrepreneur, mentor, advisor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com

Adam Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. He is co-author, with his brother Matthew, of Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right (Wiley). He's based in Phoenix, Ariz.

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