It used to be an enormous frustration of mine because I would constantly be downloaded with an awesome new idea of something that I could create - and in that moment I would know that I can do it, and it would be good, it would make me happy and I could use it to advance my life in an important way.
And so from there I would take the first few steps to actually doing it. I would clear some time, get the materials, and get going.
I would have a strong momentum for a few days, and then the momentum would wear off... and I would just never return to it ever again. It would end up in a sort of "graveyard" on my hard drive, added to the pile of other "idea corpses" and I would return to hating myself and my life.
And it sucked!
Anyway, I finally figured out how to stop doing that! So I'll share that with you below in case you're interested. The core principle is as so:
Close all of your open loops!
It's very simple:
An open loop is an NLP term for something that is undone, that requires completion. Something that we started and never finished. It could be a book, a TV series, a video game, a project... or just something that we've been meaning to get around to.
It's whatever answer comes when you ask: "What is there for me to do?"
When you finish one of these things, you close the loop, you check it off your list, get your hit of dopamine, and you now have less to do than before.
When we continuously start things without finishing them, they accumulate into a big, scary dark cloud that's called "Shit to Do" that starts to become so intimidating that don't even dare to approach it anymore.
So that's the problem! It becomes so scary that all we can really do is just keep tuning it out and starting up a new game, or video, or rip our bongs or whatever.
What to do:
1) Create your list of open loops.
Literally open up a document on your laptop, and put a title at the top called "List of Open Loops". Create a new line and go into bullet point mode. And then type out one thing that needs to get done. Hit 'enter' to go to a new line and type out another thing that needs to get done.
Just keep listing out things that need to get done. Just keep going. Again and again. All of them. When you hit the bottom, wait a little bit, and the next thing will still arise. Keep going. List EVERY SINGLE ONE. You wil be surprised by how big this list gets.
2) Start hacking away at your list.
START by looking for loops that you can abandon. So suppose you resolved at one point to take up bass fishing. And it's just not in the cards for you in the next little while. Abandon the loop. Look at that point on your list, decide firmly that you're going to let this go, and then remove it from the list. Abandon as many loops as you're able to.
NEXT you should be looking at a list of things that you sincerely intend to do. Arrange them into Stephen Covey's famous 4 quadrants:
URGENT & IMPORTANT - these are the loops you'll need to tend to immediately NOT-URGENT & IMPORTANT - these are the loops that will advance your life forward as you close them URGENT & NOT IMPORTANT - it's best to create a separate time for these, usually midday. NOT-URGENT & NOT IMPORTANT - probably just abandon these, or do them at the end of the day
3) Focus on reducing the list of open loops.
The more loops you close, the fewer things that need to get done. The fewer things that need to get done, the more you can focus all of your attention and creativity on the things that matter. This is how you gain control and get good at completing things that you start.
TL;DR: Create a fully comprehensive list of shit that you need to get done. No matter what it takes, whittle that list down as small as you can make it. This is how you reclaim your ability to focus and drive things to completion.
And that's the whole thing!
I'm around for questions if you have any.