I've always been more of a starter than a finisher. I like beginnings -- I like planning things out, imagining possibilities, setting up systems or structures or spaces that will make something happen. One of the many things in the Myers-Briggs system that really resonated with me when my profile was analyzed was that one of my traits as an N (intuitive) is that I'm good at seeing the larger picture -- and not so interested in the smaller details.
When I was much younger my interest in starting things sometimes resulted in never-finished craft projects, or supplies bought for a project and never used. This wasn't always true, though -- I went through a phase of sewing my own clothes for several nerdy years in junior high -- and those things I always finished -- probably because the real-world usefullness was so evident, and because it doesn't really take that long to sew a jumper or even the most complicated kind of shirt or jacket. Nothing like a knitting project, for instance. (These are some of the many reasons that I'm not a crafty person these days -- my fear of unused yarn sitting around and reproaching me is pretty strong.)
I may be a lousy finisher, but I'm also judgmental -- so I dislike my unfinished things, and feel guilty about them.
But I realised tonight in yoga class that some of my problem might be a perceptual tendency. At the end of class, my teacher said "congratulations to the new students -- you've finished your first Bikram yoga class" -- this is something they often say when there are new people in the room. During your first Bikram class, your main goal really is just to stay in the room and try as many poses as you can. The heat alone is a real challenge for some people. So at the end of the session, the teacher usually acknowledges that achievement -- before encouraging everyone to come back again the next day. As a more advanced student, I usually focus on the coming back part. I think of my yoga practice as a continuing practice, an ongoing process of growth and change. But, after all, that ongoing practice does involve finishing class every day.
As a GTD user, I routinely break down my projects into smaller actions. But I don't usually think of completing those actions as "finishing" anything. Maybe it's a small semantic difference -- but in my mind it seems large. So much of my work, for instance, never really feels "finished" -- there's always more to read, more revisions that could be done, more classes to teach.
So this week, I resolve to try and pay attention to the things that I do finish. See how that changes my perceptions of my actions.