January 29

You’ve probably heard Stephen Covey’s advice “begin with the end in mind.” It’s intended to ensure that you don’t jump into an initiative without first considering where you’ll end up.

With creative work, I like to invert this advice. Alwaysendwith thebeginningin mind.

Often, the most challenging part of creative work is getting started. Staring at a blinking cursor or an empty document or a new presentation deck can be paralyzing, so having any kind of initial momentum is valuable. That’s why I recommend that each day, as you wind down your work, you consider exactly where you will pick up when you start again.

Let me give you an example from my own work. I tend to write five hundred words per day when I’m working on a book project. When I get to five hundred words, I stop, even if I’m in the middle of a thought. The reason? I knowpreciselywhere I will begin my work the next day. Just having that as a starting point creates momentum, and once I’m moving, it’s much easier to stay moving.

As you wrap each project or each day, make an effort to consider exactly how you will begin again tomorrow. Doing so will go a long way toward preventing paralysis.

Always end your creative work with the beginning in mind.

How will you know when to quit your work for the day?

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