"Start Finishing lives up to its promise to help people get good work done." – Foreword Reviews
How to Go from Idea to Done
Available everywhere books are sold.
Too often we look back at the end of the week and are frustrated that we didn’t make progress on our soul-deep dreams and goals that seem to remain eternally out of reach. Start Finishing presents a 9-step method for success — including identifying your genius, building a success pack of supporters, navigating multiple projects, and overcoming the challenges that come with doing the work that matters. Start Finishing features contributions from Seth Godin, Susan Piver, Jonathan Fields, James Clear, and more.
Cut through all of the superficial productivity noise and really learn how to:
- Build your success pack of supporters, guides, peers, and beneficiaries
- Use the Five Project Rule to prioritize your daily schedule and be at peace with the work you choose not to do
- Chunk, link, and sequence your ideas down to doable parts
- Fly through drag points – how to deal with head trash, no-win scenarios, and other people’s priorities
- Heatmap your schedule so you do the right work at the right time
- Overcome cascades, logjams, and tarpits – the three ways projects routinely get stuck
- Finish strong – celebrate, review, and ride the momentum to your next goal
About Charlie Gilkey
Charlie Gilkey helps people start finishing the stuff that matters. He's the founder of Productive Flourishing, author of the just-released Start Finishing (2019) and The Small Business Lifecycle (2012), and host of the Productive Flourishing podcast. Before starting Productive Flourishing, Charlie worked as a Joint Force Military Logistics Coordinator while simultaneously pursuing a PhD in Philosophy. He lives with his wife, Angela, in Portland, Oregon.
More About Start Finishing
How much of your time and attention lately has been focused on things that truly matter to you?
Most people's honest answer is: Not enough. Everyone is buried by busywork, responsibility, distraction, and fatigue.
The joy-producing, difference-making ideas are waiting for when the time is right, when the current project is over, when they have a little more money, when the kids are grown, or when they get a more understanding boss. They are waiting for someday.
The trouble is someday never comes on its own.
You are not incapable, wired to struggle, or fated to be unable to get your act together. With a few key steps, you can change the way you show up, how you plan, and how you respond when things get tough.
You can Start Finishing the work that matters most to you.*
*Start Finishing includes original contributions from Seth Godin, Susan Piver, Jonathan Fields, James Clear, and many other teachers.
Download Your Free Chapter
Charlie has handpicked Chapter 3: Pick an Idea that Matters to You as the chapter you can download below. Chapter 3 should really hit home for you and provide a really great "dip of your toe" into the waters of the book. We hope you enjoy it and that it inspires you to come back and grab the rest of the book and start finishing your best work.
Additional Praise for Start Finishing
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Table of Contents
Part 1: Clearing the Decks for Your Best Work
Chapter 1: “Someday” Can Be Today
Why it’s time to focus on projects rather than ideas • The link between your best work and thriving • How living in a project world gives us freedom at the cost of uncertainty • What to do if your interests are all over the place • Why projects are bridges and mirrors • What separates the change-makers from the sideliners
Chapter 2: Getting to Your Best Work
What’s really in the middle of the air sandwich between your big picture and day-to-day reality • Marc and Angel Chernoff: What Else Could This Mean? • The 5 keys to unlocking your best work • The difference between positive and negative boundaries • How we confuse courage and clarity • Discipline creates freedom • James Clear: The Difference Between Professionals and Amateurs • Getting clear about your competing priorities helps you make better plans and commitments • Ishita Gupta: Build Your Courage Muscle
Chapter 3: Pick an Idea that Matters to You
Why thrashing is a sign that something matters to you • How not doing your best work leads to creative constipation • We’re built to slay dragons • The 3 gifts of failure • Chelsea Dinsmore: What to Do When Life Changes Your Plans • How not being able to do everything at once is a gift once you accept it • Why you have to let go of some ideas to trade up to the best ones • Susan Piver: Should You Break Up with Your Idea? • 5 questions to help you sort through what matters most
Part 2: Planning Your Projects
Chapter 4: Convert Your Idea Into a Project
How to convert an idea into a SMART goal • The 3 levels of success and why you can’t do everything at the epic level • No date, no finish • The 4 kinds of people to put in your success pack • Pamela Slim: The Principles of Enrolling a Guide • The 5 steps to activate your success pack
Chapter 5: Make Space For Your Project
You don’t find time and space for your best work—you make time and space for it • What playing with building blocks taught us about bending time • How to use the project pyramid to break down your big projects into smaller ones • 34 common project verbs that make planning easier • Using the Five Projects Rule to prioritize and plan your work • The 4 kinds of blocks that power your best work and life • 3 focus blocks per week avoids a thrash crash
Chapter 6: Build Your Project Road Map
The difference between a flat list and a road map • Using your GATES to fuel your project • Jonathan Fields: Your GATES Point to a Deeper Spark • 5 categories to consider for every project budget • Jacquette M. Timmons: Your Money Needs You to Give It Direction • Deadlines guide your project; capacity drives your project • The 7 steps to building your project road map
Chapter 7: Keep Flying By Accounting for Drag Points
Why every plan has drag points • The 3 kinds of no-win scenarios we often don’t realize we’re telling ourselves • Jeff Goins: The Myth of the Starving Artist • Why we choose mediocrity and what it really costs us • Seth Godin: Only the Tall Poppy Gets Full Sunlight • Don’t be down with OPP (other people’s priorities) • 9 ways to handle derailers and naysayers • Jeffrey Davis: Let Wonder Intervene with Derailers • 6 questions to ask during your project premortem
Part 3: Working the Plans
Chapter 8: Weave Your Project Into Your Schedule
How momentum planning keeps you going • The 7 environmental factors to make work for you • Joshua Becker: How a Minimalist Workspace Enhances Focus • Why batching and stacking makes you more efficient • The relationship between frogs and your dread-to-work ratio • When you’re working can be more critical than what you’re working on • Mike Vardy: You Don’t Have to Be an Early Riser to Be Productive • Rethinking “first things first” • The 5/10/15 Split makes daily momentum planning a breeze • Why planning too far in advance can be much worse than a waste of time
Chapter 9: Build Daily Momentum
3 ways to celebrate small wins—and why it’s important to do so • Srinivas Rao: Don’t Break the Chain • 6 routines that will help minimize decision fatigue • What Hansel and Gretel taught us about project management • 10 ways to mitigate distractions and interruptions • Cascades, logjams, and tarpits—3 ways projects get stuck and how to handle them • How to get your projects through the creative red zone
Chapter 10: Finish Strong
The under-appreciated reasons why we should run victory laps • Transition time and space between projects help us avoid burnout • Todd Kashdan: Curating and Trimming Relationships • The value of CAT time • How after-action reviews make your next projects easier • 5 doors you may have unlocked by completing your project