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15 Feb

Not all the way is still progress


Date: 2012-02-15 11:00 Comments: 0 st

We pick tasks from our to-do-list which we think we will be able to finish in the time we have at our disposal at the moment.

We often make an accurate guess and manage to complete the task before it is time for something else. But sometimes we only manage to get half-way through what we are doing before we get interrupted by something more urgent, and sometimes the task simply took longer to complete than we anticipated.

We start doing something which we do not finish, and are hence deprived of the joy of ticking the task off as completed.

We all have days when …

If the unfinished tasks only amounted to one in a day, it would be no big deal, but during the days when we do not seem to finish anything properly, it is easy to get frustrated.

During the three o’clock coffee-break we exclaim: “I feel like I’m getting absolutely nothing done today”! Ouch.

Actually, when saying this we are being slightly unfair to ourselves.

The task is no longer what it has been

You might feel as if you are treading water. But as long as you are doing something you are progressing, even if you do not happen to have time to do all of what you once defined as a to-do-task.

You can make it clear to yourself that you are still getting something done if you redefine the task before you stop working on it for now.

But if you leave the task phrased as it originally was, you will probably feel as if you are not getting anything done, as if you are starting over every time you work on it. You skim through the to-do-list and think “Oh wow, didn’t I write that summary yet?”, even though you already completed half the task.

Do this

  1. Let’s say you are working on a task and you only get half-way through before you need to do something else.
  2. Before you start working on the more urgent task which you now need to prioritize, pause for a minute (or perhaps you only need 10 seconds) and change the to-do-task into whatever is left of it, instead of leaving it as it was originally phrased.
  3. Good, now you can move on.

Only a simple putt left …

Once it is time to get going with the task again a few days later, it will be easier for you to get the ball rolling again and finish the other half, since you now do not have to think about how far you had gotten. You just need to read what it says you need to do next, and do it.

Since it will now be more apparent that you are moving forward, even if you still cannot tick the task off as completed, you will feel less frustrated with the days filled with distractions, and you will probably feel more pleased with yourself and your effort than what you previously were.

What is your way?

How do you make yourself feel as if you are getting a lot done, even if you have a mountain of work left to finish? Make sure to leave a comment to enlighten me and other readers!

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