Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist posted a great read, The Joy of Completion, a while back. I just came across it this week and his wise words charged me up, again, about the importance of finishing things in our lives and work. Joshua poses really thought-provoking questions for our "acquiring" society -- when are we finished buying clothes, houses, belongings? His idea is that while some things will always be unfinished, we can choose to be finished with some areas of our life, and in doing so free up space for bigger, better endeavors.
For folks working in the nonprofit world, this may have particular importance, because our work, really, never gets done. For development people, another campaign, event, promotion, appeal is always just around the corner. I've noticed that in "wrap-up" meetings for anything, but especially for those special events that totally drain us, the committee usually wants to talk about . . . wait for it . . . next year's event! Hey, could we just breathe for a minute?
But we do have control over some things and as Joshua Becker reminds us, we can choose to be finished with some of those things for our own good.
What if we added to our list of (never finished) goals, Finish Something Today? Seems like this practice could do a lot to soothe that unending feeling of drowning under the load of things to do. Get something finished.
I've always been a stacker. You know, look over something, think about it, drop it on the stack. Then the stack is too tall, so I start another stack. Pretty soon, well, it's ugly.
So, one of my goals became to "finish" the stack every evening before calling it quits. Not finish every thing on the stack, but finish the stack. Throw it away (no, I am not going to order logo magnetic bag clips, not now, not ever), give it to the person who should really have it, put each thing in the place it needs to go. I've got files for things, so I'll put all the things in the files.
It's really helpful to have those things in the proper place so I'm not digging through that stack tomorrow, but more than that, it's liberating to actually FINISH something. Done with it. It's not going to be "waiting for me tomorrow."
Maybe it's an appeal letter (or a novel) that's hanging over your head, or a word of apology that needs to be said to a colleague, or a difficult donor that you really need to meet with. What freedom there is in finishing, as well as we can, those things that occupy so much brain space and drain us of energy.
It's difficult to think about being finished with buying things (but I love, love, love moving in that direction) but the concept of finishing something on a regular basis - every day, every week, whatever works - has real power.
Pick a thing. Finish it.