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Start Finishing

How to Go from Idea to Done

By Charlie Gilkey
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  • Contains 8 key ideas
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Start Finishing by Charlie Gilkey

Start Finishing (2019) is a guide for turning your ideas into projects that you can push all the way to completion. It shares easy-to-follow steps and tips for selecting the right idea, making it feasible, and overcoming any challenges that you may encounter along the way. 

Key idea 1 of 8

​To do your best work, first turn your ideas into projects.

Here’s a question: What does the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle have in common with the Dalai Lama, Buddhism’s spiritual leader? They both teach that humans thrive through action.

But not just any action. People thrive when they do the things that their own unique experience, knowledge, and perspective prepare them for. The author calls this doing best work. 

So what’s your best work? If you’re not sure, look for clues in the ideas that constantly nag at you. Among those ideas are the ones that will lead to your best work. In order to thrive, you need to identify which ones they are – and act on them. 

The key message here is: ​To do your best work, first turn your ideas into projects.

When you hear the word “project,” you probably think of school or work. But a project is anything that requires time, attention, and effort to complete – and life is full of them. Preparing for the first day of school is a project. So is moving to a new city. 

Projects reveal your inner world. Think about it: If you find yourself dreading Mondays, that tells you a lot about what you don’t enjoy, just as finding yourself eagerly working late on a project clues you in to what you are passionate about. And best work projects – that is, projects that allow you to do your best work – create opportunities for you to thrive.

But how do you know which idea to turn into your first best work project? 

Try this simple exercise: First, write down all the ideas you’re considering. These can range from creative initiatives at work to organizing the garage or going on a dream trip. Next, cross off the ideas that don’t deeply resonate with you and those you wouldn’t mind letting go of.

The ideas you’re left with are those that are important to you. But you still have to zoom in on one idea. To do this, consider the following: Which idea would you most like to celebrate completing? Which one will have the most significant impact on your life five years from now? Perhaps there’s an idea for which you’d happily wake up early or stay up late – or one you’d be heartbroken to abandon. 

The idea that meets most of these criteria is the one to work on first. And the following blinks will demonstrate exactly how to do this.

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