One of the most repeated bits of advice I’ve heard in any occupation I’ve held is to FINISH what you set out to do. In fact, I hear it so much that it sounds as if the world is littered with people who could make it their entire life without completing tasks the universe dishes out.
I definitely hear a lot about it in my writing world. Apparently, there are loads of people out there who have a hard time making it to the words, “The End.”
This is not an affliction from which I suffer. As a mater of fact, the need to FINISH what’s on my plate is an all-encompassing aspect of my life–a razor sharp line that sounds pretty good on the surface, but can cut your ass in a heartbeat if you don’t watch it.
On the plus side, my deeply rooted need to complete the tasks I’ve set for myself (or that have been set for me) allow me to add all kinds of fun words to my resume/self-description:
Powerful words, aren’t they? Just the type of thing you want prospective employers to read. Yet ask any of my friends and family and they’ll probably add this picture alongside them…
Not very soft and cuddly, huh?
If you think that’s bad, you should see the internal self-mutilation going on while I’m trying to get any pending deliverable finished. It’s ugly, I tell you. UGLY. A Freddie Kruger altercation of the highest magnitude without visible marks.
Aside from the internal angst, there’s one other really rotten side to being too conclusion oriented; missing the good stuff.
Some of the good stuff is quick and easy to identify.
- Missing time with my girls
- Making time for the hubby
- Making time for <gasp> me?
But there’s a more subtle benefit that’s missed. Namely, DETAILS. There’s no telling how much better my work would be if I weren’t always flying Mach Fifty with my body lit up like a super nova.
This is where I am right now on a number of projects. I find myself realizing I need to go back and fix things I should have taken more slowly, or that I started too quickly giving me an unbearable number of items on my agenda.
So, while others seem to be focused on spurring themselves toward the finish line, I’m learning the gift of yanking my own choke chain–intentionally setting aside projects long enough to expose them to some mental sunlight to see what crops up. If what grows ends up being weeds, that’s ok. I can yank them. But a healthy “pause approach” is a damn sight better than mowing down a seedling before it ever has a chance to bloom. Right?
Now if I can just teach myself how to do it. It’s on my to-do list now, so I’ll get there. Maybe. By the time I’m dead.
Which side of the coin are you on? Do you procrastinate? Find ways to avoid crossing the finish line? Or do you tractor-beam in on the final destination and do the warp-speed thing like me?