Sunday, September 27, 2009

Messy Monday: Finish It!

If we’re struggling with home management, thinking about the ways of the working world can give us the push we need to more effectively manage our work at home. Prior to having children, I produced and anchored the morning and noon news for our local NBC station. Can you imagine if I stopped halfway through the broadcast and told viewers “That’s all we have for you today. I just didn’t feel like finishing the newscast.” Viewers would be dumbfounded.

Or let’s say you go to the dentist for a filling. What if the dentist stopped halfway through and said, “You know, I’m just kind of tired today. I don’t really feel like finishing this filling right now.” Outrageous.

In the working world, each day’s work is largely definable and measurable. I either produced and anchored a full newscast or I did not. The dentist either gets the job done or he doesn’t. Professionals are expected to finish the job. Not finishing, for whatever reason, is out of the question. It is not an option if you hope to keep a job.

At home with no external pressures (bosses, pay checks, job security), the lines become much more blurred. Who really cares if you don’t finish your dishes after dinner or put the laundry away all the way? Your husband might; you might. Not finishing a task may cause some conflict, but it does not result in you losing your job or being sued (imagine a doctor finishing a surgery half-way and calling it good).

Reflecting on this did me some serious good. Saturdays I set out with good intentions: I’ll dust and vacuum, scrub my counters and my bathrooms, tidy up, change sheets and whatever else needs attention; and I’ll finish early enough to enjoy the rest of the day. I can see it playing out in my mind, but it never seems to happen in real life where it counts. Sure I pick around here and there, doing this and that. But I never finish anything. Why? Because the honest truth is—I just don’t feel like it. Maybe I think it’s acceptable to do the job halfway, maybe I get tired in the process, maybe I start a task and think about things I’d rather be doing and go do them instead. Whatever the reasons (and there are many), I fail to finish.

That being said, I am pleased to report that this Saturday, after realizing my problem, I did set out to finish my jobs, and I worked hard to fulfill my goals early enough in the afternoon to be free to enjoy the rest of the day. You know what? It worked! My husband was so amazed. When I told him about my revelations, he looked at me with a glint in his eye: his wife of seven years just might be finally onto something, and his hopes for a relatively tidy home most of the time might be in the horizon. And you know how those cowboys like to see their horizons!

So my tip for this Messy Monday is, as the title of this post suggests, finish it! You may get sidetracked several times in the process, but as I wrote about here, keep your focus. When you get called away by children or whatever else, tend to what you need to, and then return to what you were doing, and…you guessed it… finish it!

I’d love to hear ways you accomplish your tasks consistently, or if you’re struggling too (like I was), what are your biggest roadblocks to finishing well? Or just share something else on your mind! I’d love to hear from you!

In my next post, we will be looking at how perfectionism can play into disorganization. Hugh? Come back tomorrow and find out!

(This post is linked here)

1 comment:

  1. Definitely struggling with finishing things. It's this mental control thing I have going on and yet I know it's nonsense. Actually it's a lot of procrastination. STARTED reading a book about that. I also fear I've become this person that takes things for granted and am not internally motivated to work hard. Looking forward to hear what you have to say next!