Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Art of Finishing

Finish Line

I love to finish things: a bottle of shampoo or a tub of face cream, a tube of toothpaste, a gallon of milk. I don't know what it is, but I just have such a sense of satisfaction when I reach the end of something - like I've accomplished something even if it's only eating an entire jar of almond butter (not in one day, people...seriously!!)

I think this is one of the reasons I love racing so much. At the end of a triathlon you are finished. You even cross the finish line! You are done! Even though there is always another race or another bottle of something to replace what you have completed, there is that distinct feeling of having accomplished something.

What I have noticed in my life is there are a lot more things I do that do not have finish lines. Parenting, work, taking care of the house, laundry...these are not tasks that can be nicely wrapped up and classified as being DONE. I can't cross "taking care of my children" off my to-do list. It is there every day. That is not to say I don't enjoy doing things that are never finished, but sometimes the enormity of something so big that it is never finished overwhelms me.

So I've been thinking a lot about how I can take some of these un-finishable tasks and make my own little finish lines. How can I call it done, at least for the day? This applies even more in my professional career. I have a tendency to dream big but then get bogged down in the details of how to get the big dream realized. The result is that I feel rarely finish anything.

For me, part of the answer to this question is to focus on completing the small tasks that go into these ongoing "projects," for lack of a better term. Because I have always sort of worked for myself, I don't have very many deadlines or a boss dictating how and when I should do something, so I need to start doing that for myself. I need to break up my huge goals into tiny parts that I can actually finish. In order to make that happen, I need to thoroughly define and design my projects, or I will get overwhelmed by them.

The other thing I am going to do is to start celebrating even the smallest finish line victories. Picture this, my kids are finally in bed for the night, so I stop my watch (naturally), raise my hands over my head in victory, and give a shout of joy. I finished! I made it through the day! Maybe I'll even have Kel take a picture. I might even spend a few minutes recapping the day in my head to soak it all in instead of just moving along to the next thing I have to do. It seems a little bit silly, but maybe if we actually start to celebrate all of our finishes just like we do at the end of a race, we will feel just a little bit more accomplished and productive at the end of the day.

Do you struggle with this? How do you break things down in a way that makes it easier to accomplish them?


  1. I hear you on all of that -- I love to FINISH.

    I try to break up everything in small, manageable, "checkable" goals. Not always doable but it's something.

  2. Loved this post. Totally doing the finish line moment after putting the kids into bed!


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