While you’re reading this, I’m with a wonderful client who’s flown in for a VIP day. We’re doing very hard and difficult Important Things like getting a massage, eating French cuisine, and talking about All The Big Questions. Tough gig, I know.
But before I could sink into the joy of this day with my client, I spent a little bit of time this week running around wrapping up loose ends and getting ready.
See, what I want is to be DONE.
Done with email so that I can just be with my client tomorrow and be 100% present.
Done with household chores so that I can be in my home and really relax.
Done with EVERYTHING so that I can stop and just breathe for a minute.
Guess what? It ain’t gonna happen.
There’s no such thing as done. It’s an illusion.
If you wait until you’re ‘done’ to do the fun stuff, it will never happen. If you wait until your email inbox is empty before you get on with the bigger projects, they will never AND I MEAN NEVER receive your attention. If you wait until you’re done, you’ll be dead.
Uh….oops, sorry about that. Seriously though, not to be a downer, but that’s really the only time you’re ever done.
Waiting ’til we’re Done with a capital D is an illusion that keeps us from allowing ourselves joy.
If I wait until my work is done as a business owner, I will never go lie on the grass.
If I wait until my work as a mother is done, I will never sit and read stories to my girl.
If I wait until my writing is done enough to show the world, I will never hit ‘publish.’
There’s an old saying that says that Perfect is the enemy of Good Enough. In The Queen Sweep Master Class, we irreverently changed that to Perfect is the enemy of DONE. And what we mean is that there is immense relief in finishing something and saying it’s done.
(This is why it’s so crucial to break your projects into tiny tasks; so that you can be done with that particular thing!)
But the truth is, in the larger sense, there really is no such thing as done. There will always be one more thing you could do. One more tweak you could add. One more task that presents itself.
Here’s the good news:
There’s no Done, but there is STOPPING.
Just stopping. This is something that’s harder to do now, with our bosses in our phone 24/7 and constant email access. So you’re never done for the day in the old way, where you walk away from work and go somewhere else, where someone has your pipe and slippers waiting for you. (Oh wait! Even back then, a woman’s work was never done!)
So what you have to do is just STOP. Decide you’re done FOR TODAY. FOR THIS WEEK.
Decide that it’s time now to do something else. (And yes, if that something else is lying on the couch, it totally counts, as long as it’s the next thing you want to be doing.)
You’ll never be done with all your work. So pick something that feels really valuable, do it for a certain amount of time (use a timer!) and then decide that you’re done.
Here’s a little bonus result: when you deliberately stop, you save some energy for next time. When you quit before you’re exhausted, you make it 8000% more likely that you’ll be willing to dive back in the next day or week. And you’ll actually be more productive than if you keep spinning from task to task in a fog of overwhelm.
So here’s the magic spell: do something important, and then STOP.
And then go do something wonderful, dreamer.