I don't know how many weeks I was into my most recent care giving experience when I began to notice heaps of things around the house. Well, I probably noticed them early on. I'm not blind. But what it took me a while to notice was that many of them involved unfinished tasks. There's laundry in the cellar that hasn't been folded. A room full ofironing. A desk in my office heaped with papers, books, and some other things. There's mending in a couple of places up here. A counter and a table that...and shoes...and
...then there's the month's worth of Publishers Marketplace Deals I want to read, the submissions I want to make, the synopsis I need for a couple of those submissions, the books I've read and haven't done blog posts for, the...
Oh, and, yeah, I've got a bunch of books and magazines I've read just part of. I'm getting kind of worried about that. Lots of unfinished reading probably says something about a person, huh?
What's With Not Finishing Your Tasks, Gail?
I'm sure behaviorists would say letting tasks go unfinished is a sign of fear of failure or success, that there may be an attention disorder at work. But it can also happen because:
You're Fighting Fires--You have too much to do, too many tasks to complete in the time available, so you keep jumping to the one that blows up in your face and appears to need attention right this minute. Before you can finish it, another fire blows up in your face.
You're Dealing With Tasks Coming From Other People--You're attending to other peoples' needs, real needs of the sick, children, or elderly. And before you can finish attending to one of their needs, another one comes up.
Finishing Things For Writers
Fortunately, I stumbled upon a Five-Step Plan for Writers on finishing what you start.
Step 1: Stop Starting New Projects. Well, no! Who wants to do that? Though, to be honest, I did think about this in relation to the mending I mentioned in the first paragraph. No new sewing projects until I finish that mending.
Step 2: Assess Your Current Projects. But there are so many!
Step 3: Choose One Project to Focus On. Okay. I can do this. I have done this.
Step 4: Decide What "Finished" Will Look Like. Ermm.
Step 5. Set Some Milestones (And Start Hitting Them). This will work for me so long as we're not talking about timed milestones. I make milestones sooner or later.
Finishing Things For Anybody
Two things have helped me get started on finishing things again:
I finished one thing. I cleaned out a personal file. That included collecting paperwork from the office in he cellar and the dresser in my bedroom.
I started a new to-do list. I had been keeping a to-do list for a couple of years, but I lost that habit this spring. It's baaaaack, and I'll be doing a post on it soon.