Always Finish What You . . .

From a very early age I have had drummed into that part of me that defines my character the adage, “Always finish what you begin.”

This has served me well throughout my life and has kept me from quitting many projects, groups, or relationships. It is a good principle to follow and one which I hope, to some degree, to instill in my own children.

However, I caught myself today in one of those “Aha!” light-bulb-goes-on moments thinking that my holding this rule so unswervingly may be one of the reasons for the stress I am feeling in my daily working life. See, I don’t like to leave anything unfinished. I don’t like loose ends. This also carries over into the speed at which I work becuase I don’t want to leave anything unfinished today.

My ideal day would end with all the loose ends tied up, all projects finished, my inbox and in-tray cleared, my computer scanned and its cache cleaned, my files backed up, all my electronic devices synchronised, desk tidy, pencils sharpened, and everything ready for a fantastic start the next day.

But that rarely happens. Thus the reason for my stress.

Yet I am the first one to say, regarding the spiritual life, “It’s not the destination; it’s the journey,” or “Enjoy the journey.”

Can’t–shouldn’t–this also apply to other areas of my life?

It may be that I need to allow jobs that aren’t urgent (“urgent” being defined as those with a deadline imposed by those above me) to remain a “work in progress” for a little longer, my desk to sometimes finish the day in a mess, my inbox and in-tray to have some unactioned material, and not be so harsh on myself. Perhaps I need to see my work as a journey and not a collection of daily or weekly destinations.

Perhaps I need to be satisfied, as I am in my spiritual journey, with a certain degree of unresolvedness, not having a neat little pigeonhole or box to put each thing. Maybe I should be content to leave my office with some dishevelment behind me. It might be that, in doing this, I may find myself  (eventually, once I get through the withdrawal period) more at peace in my work, more settled and less pressured.

Maybe I will . . .

See also: Stress Management: Ten Self-Care Techniques


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