Pssst! Quick note: I’ll be teaching a live-stream class on November 9th all about how to plan your week and set up your schedule. Go register in advance for the seminar here.

Do you finish what you start?

Let’s be honest: we’re pretty terrible, as humans, at estimating time. How long something will take, how much work it will do to finish something, how much energy we’ll have later.

Me? I always over-estimate how much I’m going to want to do something later. I get swept up in the high of the moment, in my exuberance, and sign up for ALL THE CLASSES.

The difference between something that gets done and something that remains unfinished is huge.

Unfinished work feels heavy, difficult, like a burden.

We pile up unfinished projects like additional rooms in a house, never returned to, until we’ve designed a house with 187 rooms and we don’t even know where to begin again.

Finished work — although scrappy, messy, and imperfect — is released. It is put into the world of exploration, of connection, of refinement. Push publish on the draft. Release a thought into the world.

If you only have an hour left to do the work, default to finishing it.

Put a smaller timer on it.

If you only had 5 minutes left, how would you finish it?

So many of my blog posts on this site are the product of a timer and a few minutes. I often set 6-minute, 8-minute, and other short burst intervals to write as quickly as possible.

Do it now or not at all.

This applies to signing up for online courses, too. Here’s a rubric I use and love, that might work for you.

You’re hesitating about signing up to do a new program or a course. (For me, it was Krista Tippett’s course on The Art of Conversation that really called to me.) Did I have time to take it?

If I have time today to take the course, at least an hour of it, then I have time to do it. If I can carve out time to do it now, then I know I have enough wiggle room in my schedule to make it happen.


If I do not have time to do it now — in this moment, in this hour, in this day — then I am already too full and too busy to give it attention. (One way, however, to get around this is to delete something from your life to make space for the new thing. Everything is a tradeoff.)

That’s a rubric for deciding that helps me.

Do it now or not at all.


How many things are unfinished in your life right now? Leave a note in the comments with your best tips for finishing your work.


On Wednesday, November 9th I’ll be teaching a live-stream class all about how to rethink and restructure your week. Join me!

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