Finishing Tasks to Completion
Being able to finish tasks is important. If you feel that you have nothing to show for your hard work, I think there is a terrible depression that can come over you. You feel useless. Nothing you imagine comes to pass. Or at the very least, what you imagine comes to nothing. And when others are sharing their progress, you feel a terrible emptiness. In my case, this was so.
I think at least two things are at work here. First, I think most importantly, is how we get in a state where we are comparing our lives to others. If I’m honest with myself, this is envy. I wish I was competent like him. And then what follows is depression from the disparity between what you believe you should be and what you have. In truth, it is more accurate to say it is a comparison about what you are. But if we were to realize that in those moments, we would not as easily fall into depression.
Second, there is truth and good that can come out of it. But we must be in the mind set to critique ourselves. The act of accurately understanding the comparison. It might be we are seeing these things in others, so that we can see the shortfall in us, where we can work to improve and strengthen ourselves and be complete.
Practically speaking, there can be unknowns in a project that will crop up. To the experienced, these are just bumps in the road but to the inexperienced, they will be walls. In these cases, the most important thing when making headway in a project is to ask the right questions. When I look at the experienced people in a field, its not that they don’t run into the same issues, it’s that they know the right questions to ask to overcome; a skill that comes from experience. In a nutshell I think a big part of experience in anything is learning the right questions to ask in whatever field or area that might be.
In my life and career, I’ve frequently found myself responsible for solving problems I didn’t understand. The rules I laid out for myself are.
- Be still. Listen carefully. Ask question about the project or problem. Start out by writing about what you expect to achieve at the end. What is the definition of success for this project or solution? Write down on the side, any questions that are immediately coming into your head, they might be pertinent later. Depending on the details of what you are dealing with, there might be a room full of people screaming for a solution. Ignore them. Don’t let them dictate the speed or depth you approach the problem with.
- Take that initial writing and form it into a blueprint for how you will approach the solution or project. Give yourself deadlines for each task or component. If the answer is not clear or the step doesn’t seem to be done right, keep at it. Don’t progress until you a certain you are ready to move forward onto the next task. Keep in mind, as you work, things will come to light that will need to be added in this blueprint. If you want to keep your final vision, you need to add this to the blueprint. Don’t take shortcuts.
- Be ready for pauses, be ready to ask questions. Be ready to be ignorant. When confusion strikes or things are going sideways. Write it down. You need to have a clear understanding on why you are stuck. Describe the roadblock. Then out of that form good questions. Take those questions to others which may be professionals in that field, a mentor or books in the library. There might be a lot you will have to learn that you didn’t anticipate. Don’t let that discourage you. You are on the way to achieving your goals as long as you are patient and willing to be methodical.
- As you finish, take note of how close you are to the initial vision. Does this fulfill my requirement? Is this what I was looking for? If so, polish and refine. If not, don’t hesitate to start from square one. It might sound like a waste, but you will have gained valuable experience and insight that will aide you next time in being closer to achieving the solution or project goal.
I’m sure there is always room for improvement, though at the time we may not know how much of it. My hope is to keep the mindset in the proper perspective. Then when I hear about the accomplishments of others, it is joy in my heart and I’m eager to tell them how excited I am for them!