Charlie Gilkey

Charlie Gilkey
ABout the Book:

One of my top goals for Start Finishing was that it’d be a resource that lived on people’s shelves after they read it. I hoped it’d be a highlighted, dog-eared, and well-used and loved book that’d help people in different phases of their journey with their best work, in different projects, and in different seasons of their lives.

What many readers have told me is that not only did that happen, but they also wanted a place to answer the prompts and reflect on the questions I pose in the book. Chapters 4 – 6, especially, have a lot of project- or time-specific questions.

We’ve designed this workbook in the hope that it helps you find a home for the prompts, reflections, and action steps that Start Finishing guides you through. Much like Start Finishing, we want you to write in this book, dog-ear it, highlight, and make it your own, but, unlike Start Finishing, we do not want this to sit on your shelf. We want it to sit on your desk while you’re working on a project that matters. When you finish the project, part of your CATwork (Ch 10) might be recycling, burning, or storing it away in a project box.

Start Finishing is for life; this workbook is for a project.

Not only is each project different, but each project meets you in time in a different way. What was a challenge during last quarter’s project may not be a challenge for this quarter’s project. The key player on your success pack for the last project may not be on your success pack at all for this one. As you create and finish your best work, you create yourself and the nexus of possibilities that’s in front of you.

I say all of this to give you permission to only hang onto this workbook as long as it serves you and to use it however it serves you. Much like Start Finishing, there will be some sections that will challenge or constructively frustrate you; our goal with these is to get you to engage with the dragons, uncertainty, head trash, and constraints directly rather than letting their unhelpful murkiness catalyze a thrash crash. These sections may not be comfortable, but they’re still there to help you do your best work.

If there’s a section that doesn’t serve you, skip it.

If there’s a question that strikes you in a dissonant way, ignore it or rewrite it in a way that works for you.

If something appears to present a “one right way” that doesn’t work for you, consider how the principle or insight might be relevant to you but applied a different way. (It’s exceedingly rare for there to only be one right way.)

One last thing: you have what you need to start finishing your best work and start building the future you want to live in. Right now. Yes, you.

The book and this workbook just remind you of your potential, tap into it, and channel it towards what matters most.

Commit to the work (aka yourself), build your success pack, stick with it, and run your victory lap. You’ve got this.


PS: A book doesn’t happen without a dedicated success pack to see it through (see chapter 4 for how to create your own). As is usual for all Productive Flourishing projects, everyone here at PF has played a role in getting this field guide finished and in your hands.

That said, special shoutouts are owed to Maghan Haggerty and Steve Arensberg, both of whom championed for, significantly contributed to, and pushed the project through the successive red zones on its way to done. Without Steve and Maghan, this field guide would not exist.

Thanks to Joy Panos Stauber of Stauber Brand Studio for turning our rough ideas and raw text into polished, accessible designs and Cristina Kramp for lending her unique artistry to the project with her whimsical chapter images (and a few others).

Thanks to Sounds True for being the wonderful publishing partner that gave us the green light to create this companion work alongside Start Finishing.

Last, but definitely not least, thanks to all the Start Finishing readers, discussion group leaders, and facilitators who’ve nudged us for this field guide — may it serve you and those you’re catalyzing well.

About the Author: Philosophical yet practical, compassionate yet disciplined, creative yet analytical, happy but calm — Charlie Gilkey is a walking contradiction. This duality informs his unique, pragmatic perspective, which he’s equally comfortable sharing publicly online and privately with his clients. Through actionable guidance grounded in thought-provoking theory, Charlie helps you take meaningful action on the stuff that matters in both life and work.

People with too many ideas and too little time look to Charlie for help, and he delivers. His website,, is one of the top websites for planning and productivity for professional creatives, entrepreneurs, and small business owners. His award-winning book Start Finishing: How to Go from Idea to Done was published by Sounds True and his best-selling book is titled The Small Business Lifecycle: Taking the Right Steps at the Right Time to Grow Your Small Business.

Start Finishing Field Guide Is Coming Soon!

Productivity Meets Purpose in this workbook-Get past busy work and embrace bringing your joyful, difference-making ideas to life. An easy-to-use, step-by-step workbook that supplements Start Finishing by providing the details, how-tos, scenarios, and tools used to finish your most important projects.