A senior coworker once gave me a great piece of advice early in my corporate career. I was feeling overwhelmed and whiny about all the projects I had been assigned. I was paralyzed with indecision about what to work on next. What was his advice? Finish something.
That’s it. Finish something. And it worked! I identified which project was nearest completion and focused on that until it was done. Then I moved on to the next nearly-completed project and got that off my plate too. Finally, I felt prepared to tackle a larger, more important project.
The beauty of finishing something is that it gives you a sense of accomplishment that propels you forward into the possibility of finishing something else. Success breeds success. The more little successes you have, the sooner you reach the tipping point between fearing you can’t do it, and realizing that of course you can do it! As Henry Ford said, “If you think you can do a thing, or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”
Keep in mind, though, that “finishing something” can also mean delegating it to someone else who is better qualified, or who has more time. It can mean deleting it from your To-Do List altogether. Just because you started something (like that knitting project from 10 years ago) does NOT mean you have to finish it! Consider whether an unfinished project still supports your current priorities and goals before spending more time on it.
But maybe…probably…there’s something on your list that if you just focused on it for an hour, or made that one phone call you’ve been avoiding, or planned out the next few steps of the project, it would be easy to finish. Wouldn’t that feel great?
I can think of a few little projects that have been hanging around on my own To-Do List for too long. Bye – gotta go finish something!
Copyright 2012-2013 by Hazel Thornton, Organized For Life.
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