Finish something

Photo courtesy of Enokson (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Enokson (Creative Commons)

I have a bad habit of starting too much. Not that starting is a bad thing, but I start and then get sidetracked and start something else, and before I know it, my desk is a mess, I have way too many screens open on my computer, and I don’t know which end is up anymore.

The problem with that is that because I’ve started it, and then changed gears, I often don’t realize I haven’t finished it. Which can be tricky.

The other day, I wondered why I had not heard back from someone about an email I had sent. When I did go back to my computer, I realized I had started that email, but evidently got interrupted, and never finished it – so I never sent it. No wonder they had not answered an email they never got!

Not being able to check things off my list is disheartening too, and creates confusion and frustration. I find myself constantly apologizing to people because while I may have made progress, I have not delivered whatever I promised to deliver. Plus it’s exhausting to always feel like I have so much left to do.

One of my duties at the nonprofit where I work is to schedule the truck for furniture donation pickups. I receive emails or phone calls from folks wanting to donate furniture and I collect their information and get them on the schedule.

I have learned that when that phone rings, I immediately open the pickup schedule file on the computer to collect their information – I type it right into the computer while we talk. Done. Finished.

If I don’t do it right then, I risk messing up the schedule. Even though it means stopping whatever else I’m doing – it’s important to complete that process so that all the pieces are in place. It has become a habit that I don’t even think about anymore.

I need to approach more of my work that way. Build more habits. Finish, then move on to the next thing on the list.

How do you stay focused to finish?