Getting Things Done – Starters, Finishers, Do’ers, Don’ters

If a task needs doing. I give it to a doer. I have found that giving something to someone who has the time, often ends up being more work than just doing it myself.

Some people are great at starting things but never complete them. Some people, struggle to start, but when they do, they finish it properly.

Take washing clothes as a practical example.

  • Starters – Will do it in piecemeal. They put a load on, then later hang it up after it’s been sitting for a while, then take it down in time for the next load. A two-day task becomes a five-day one.
  • Finishers – They are reluctant to start, they will let their clothes pile up until they have no option but to do them. Then when they do them, they blitz the lot.
  • Do’ers – Will do the washing as regularly as needed and get it done in the minimum required timeline.
  • Don’ters – Well, they don’t do much. Maybe someone else will if they leave it long enough?

While everyone has their blind-spots or passions as an exception, I have found that any of these traits are likely to be pervasive across more areas than not.

So what can we do? – It is really difficult to fight a person’s natural or learned behaviours and tendencies. Probably the best is to scaffold in habits which help shift behaviours and eventually values.


Restrict their options? Incentivise them for completion? Make it so they can’t do something new until they finish what they have done?

Planners are often starters. They sometimes mistake themselves for strategic thinkers.


Incentivise starting new things? Try get them excited?

Often like to have a set plan to follow.


Careful to overload them? – Performance punishment is a real thing and can lead to people becoming jaded.

These people are gold. Attract them, keep them, spend time around them.


These can very frustrating. Do what you can? Scaffold in guard rails? – Move on when you can? I suspect you will be constantly disappointed.

Try to develop the habit of being a Do’er. You will be more valuable to the world and yourself. If you are already a do’er, don’t be afraid to take some chill time every now and again.

Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply