A couple of months ago I finally hit “Publish” on my first book, School, Scholarships, College and More. It was an awesome feeling to have something finished. But better still, wow, something now lives on Amazon that I created. Whether I sell 50 copies or 50,000 copies, nobody can take away the fact that I published a book.
Now here’s the backstory. I have essentially been finished with the book for over a year. That’s right, a year. And I wasn’t waiting for a publishing deal because this book is self-published.
It happens all the time. We get off to a fast start then slump at the end. It can affect everything we do. It’s the number one culprit for all the unfinished projects and good intentions floating around in your world. I call it “the fade.”
Sometimes the fade takes the form of shifting into low gear at the end of a work day or work week. It may look like that old project car you have parked in the yard. Or it may painfully remind you of itself whenever you look at the half-done scrapbook. Maybe it looks like that exercise bike, pair of running shoes, partially-finished website, or messy garage.
When you fade, others suffer. Either directly or indirectly, not completing your work deprives others and yourself of any possible benefit.
So what causes the fade and what can you do about it? Here are my thoughts.
Reason – We simply get distracted. When something else gains our attention we put down what we were doing and chase something new.
Remedy – Begin with the end in mind. Before setting out to do anything, be sure that you have a clear focus on what you want to accomplish at the end of the effort.
Reason – We lose interest. What sounded like a good idea at the time becomes less appealing over time.
Remedy – Be sure that whatever you begin has some alignment to your purpose. Also share your plans with a trusted friend or advisor and ask them to hold you accountable.
Reason – Other priorities take over. We are all busy and life begins to get in the way.
Remedy – Decide where your project fits in your overall obligations. Track where you are spending your time and see if you are letting other lower-priority activities take the place of what you should be doing.
Reason – We bite off more than we can chew. Underestimating the amount of effort something takes to complete shows itself sometime during the project.
Remedy – Don’t over-commit. Break down the goal into manageable, bite-sized chunks. Then, break it down by half again because our tendency is to overestimate our available time and energy. And be patient and realistic about when you think you can complete the work.
Reason – Others tell us that what we’re doing isn’t important. I doubt anyone tells you this outright but they tell you in subtle ways – not reading, not showing interest, not asking questions, comparing you unfavorably to others.
Remedy – Do the work. What you have to offer is important. Even if others have gone before you, the way that you say things or do things will be absolutely unique and will connect with some in the way that others just cannot.
Being aware that the fade is real can help you power through whenever it happens to you. Finish strong and run hard across the finish line – you will feel like you’ve given it your best effort.
Question – When have you experienced the fade and what did you do about it?