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15 Feb

Not all the way is still progress

Datum: 2012-02-15 11:00

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!