The art of “finishing” something is one of the most peculiar and mysterious subjects to me. Why is it that we start a project, we are enthusiastic and eager about it, but then not finish it? Do we get bored and overwhelmed? My theory is that as human beings, we have a very short attention span. I’ve started many projects before that I have not finished, I admit it. Part of me thinks that not finishing something that I started indicates failure. But as I evaluate further, I realize that categorizing me as a failure simply because I didn’t finish a project is a bit harsh. So, I forgive myself and analyze the project. From that point on I decided not to criticize myself if I don’t finish what I started.
In fact, what I do now is put together a list with all my projects. Then I categorize them in order of priority and lastly I pick 2 projects to finish. I found that if I jotted down my task for the day, I would complete it. When I didn’t write down on my “to do list” or my calendar, then it would not get done. Our mind is so interesting that way! We have to see and feel to take action. Then I made two primary commitments. One is to write it down and prioritize, and two, to take action. And to actually do something every day, small or big but do it. I’ll give you an example. One of my main goals is to de clutter, de clutter primarily physical items around my home, my desk, my car, etc. Somehow physical de cluttering affects my emotional de clutter! When I see cleared spaces, and openness, my mind and emotions are cleared and open as well. There must be a psychological or scientific connection between the two because I feel physical and emotional changes when I de clutter the space around me.
The point of de cluttering is to bring awareness to people that feel bogged down or even experiencing mental fogginess. I felt this way for many different reasons, for situations that happened and for trials and tribulations that life brings. But I knew that if I cleared the physical space around me, I would feel clarity in my mind and thoughts. So my rule is to pick a project off of my list. In this case I picked to de clutter. Then, I selected what areas of my house, car or office I wanted to clean up! So, the last time I worked on this project I choose to de clutter my closet. Ladies, you know that could take a while, after we look at our clothes, our shoes, our jewelry, files, boxes, coats, blankets, the list could go on and on. So, at a first glance it looks completely overwhelming, but if you divide the project into sections and commit to transferring your “stuff” out of its current place, you will make progress. It’s difficult for me to throw or give away things that I’m emotionally attached to. Yes, I have emotional attachment to material things. It’s so silly but it will vary from an old, beat up sweatshirt (that could be considered an adult security blanket!) to a little stuffed animal that my brother gave me before he passed.
I make it a point to segregate my stuff in 3 different categories:
- Gift Category – Items that are in good condition and that someone else could use. I donate these items to my local salvation army, church or a non-profit that caters to orphanages.
- Discard Category – Items that have no use for me or for anyone else. Even if I have an emotional attachment to them, I look at them, or wear them for the last time and throw them away.
- Re-organize Category – Items that simply need re-organizing, mending or a new place to live in, such as a new drawer, a new hanger and moved to the front of the closet, or a new shelf.
My strategy is quite simple. Since I know that I will most likely be interrupted or side tracked, I make it a point to always move forward with at least one item. For example, if my goal is to clear up my second shelf in my closet, that is filled with paperwork that I need to file, I look at least at one of them. When I discover that I can actually shred it or throw it away, I feel a sense of relief! Even if I just get rid of 1 piece of paper! I feel a sense of accomplishment. So, the rule for me is to stick to it no matter what, if I have 30 seconds, pick an item and discard it or reorganize it (in this case, file it in my filing box), so whether you have a few minutes or an hour, you keep your project moving.
As human beings we enjoy praise and a sense of accomplishment, congratulate yourself and move on to the next task, cooking dinner, daily workout, pick up kids, or whatever else is on your plate. Never overwhelm yourself. If you get to that point, then walk away. Life is too short to pressure yourself so much.