The Uncompleted Task

“Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.”

~William James

Have you ever noticed that sense of freedom you feel when you have finally completed a long-postponed project? It’s as if someone lifted a weight off your shoulders. What’s weighing you down today? Is it the thought of an unfinished (or not-yet-begun) project? Do you waste precious mental energy each day on an annoying problem that never improves? The longer you put off a task, the more it damages your self-esteem and the larger the task looms in your imagination.

The first Wednesday in September is Fight Procrastination Day, also called Do-It Day, but you can take charge of your life and make any day Do-It Day. Start planning now to eliminate those fatiguing uncompleted tasks by Do-It Day:

Imagine the successful result-Envision what success would look like to you. It might be a reorganized closet, a shiny auto with inflated tires, an overdue thank-you note finally mailed away or an old 401(k) rolled over into an IRA?. Write down or draw a picture of the goal and post it where it will inspire you to take action. Remember, you define what success looks like.

Share the load-Sometimes just telling a friend about your plan makes it easier to accomplish. This is the basis for variety of successful self-help systems, from Weight Watchers to any of a number 12-Step programs. Admitting your dissatisfaction with the status quo, sharing your vision of success and detailing your plan of attack helps motivate you in two important ways. First, it gives you external accountability when someone else knows you’ve decided to curb your unnecessary spending or eat fewer empty calories. Knowing that there’s someone else on your team, invested in your results, make that accountability work for you. Second, whether you are trying to break a bad habit or instill a new one, sharing your concerns with someone else can give you some much-needed moral support.

Identify the first step – and schedule time to do it!-Any project seems daunting when you imagine accomplishing the whole thing. Everything becomes much more manageable when you break it down and start with baby steps. What’s the very first thing you must do to achieve the goal? Do you have to make a call? Locate the right information? Buy some presentable workout gear (to kick yourself into gear)? Pick up cardboard boxes to sort your clutter? Isolate the first step and block out time in your calendar to do it.

Do the light lifting first-Once you’ve identified the first step, chances are it’s not that difficult to do. Pick up the phone and ask a wise friend to recommend a financial planner. Make an appointment with your professional organizer to get that closet “winter ready”. Gather stamps, envelopes and an address book to write that overdue note of gratitude or congratulations. These little steps present you with small victories which will inspire you to move on to each consecutive step in the plan. Once begun, a job’s half done!

Do the heavy lifting-Procrastination is powerful, especially when you’ve been procrastinating about dealing with your clutter. But once you’ve done the light lifting, you’re practically there. Just take that next step. Load up the car. Deliver your boxed-up clutter to charity or take it for recycling. Offer it up at Craig’s List to anyone who will pick it up TODAY and to you the peace of mind (and extra space) you’ve been longing for! If you lack auction skills, find a local eBAY reseller to help you list, sell and ship household clutter and gently-used items. Basic service costs nothing up front, with the commission is paid from the proceeds of the sale. Wouldn’t you rather have pocketful of money to buy a clutter-free experience (like dinner and a show?) instead of all that clutter? Load it up, move it out-today!

Fight Procrastination. Do-It!

Copyright © 2005 Julie Bestry and Best Results Organizing. All rights reserved.


About the Author:   Julie Bestry is a professional organizer, speaker and author, who helps individuals and businesses save time and money, reduce stress and increase productivity through new organizational skills and systems. Her most recent book is 57 Secrets for Organizing Your Small Business. For information on how Julie can turn your chaos into serenity, visit Best Results Organizing at

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