One of the most discouraging things for procrastinators is feeling like they don’t ever finish things. Imagine that! Former procrastinators, we can look back and see that in the old days, we brought on ourselves the very conditions that discouraged us. Now we’re alert to avoid that and seize opportunities to complete work promptly.
I heard someone say, “I don’t have a problem with procrastination. I have a problem with completing things.” Interesting. She didn’t see that instead of putting things off at the beginning, she put them off at the middle or end. Same result – incomplete work.
A friend asked not long ago, “Why do we take things to the 80 percent stage and not finish?” It seems we stall out.
In The Slight Edge, Jeff Olson talks about the momentum created by completion. Since reading that, I’ve been trying to complete at least one thing every day. It definitely helps propel me forward.
Completing things fulfills that need, refreshes us, and moves us forward.
I’m seeing three areas:
1) Ongoing life jobs. These are continual by their very nature and can’t be marked off a do list. Employment, marriage, parenting, friendships, household upkeep, physical fitness, laundry, eating – and feeding others. (“Will all of you just stop eating for two days? Please! It would help me so much.”)
In ongoing life jobs we can still complete steps. Get specific. Take the teens through a financial course. Take a weekend away with the husband. Take a cooking course with friends.
2) Large jobs that require more than a day. Making photo albums, cleaning the basement, studying for an exam. With tasks too big to complete in a day, again, we can complete a step in the process. Complete a small job within a larger job. Order tile for the kitchen remodel. Prepare the soil for a new garden. Each step moves toward completion. Just keep stepping all the way to 100 per cent.
We redid our powder room last fall. Selection of a sconce and getting the valance over the window are in my court. “Yoooohoooo. Look at meee!” The hole in the wall with wires hanging out reminds me I stopped stepping. I need to finish.
3) Small jobs. Clean a closet, deliver donations, make a call.
Enjoy being energized by knocking out one of these every day.
Completing other things or steps in a big job helps us hang in with the long running jobs. We shouldn’t be diverted – but be encouraged along the way.
I had a friend who prioritized quilting. In ten minutes a day she made their home more attractive with lovely wall hangings. But something else was important. She explained, “Nothing in my life is finished. My children are not finished. Our marriage is not finished. School is not finished. Making these quilts allows me to complete something.” This refreshed her. She recognized the importance of completion.
What things will you complete this week?
Dianne Scutt says
Beth, l love your blog it is so insightful and really gets me moving. I would love to have you come and speak to our ladies group at my church about procrastination. Can this be arranged? Please feel free to email me.