I was just plowing through a few household chores, feeling effective because I could see immediate results as things were put in their proper place, wiped down and such. I felt like I accomplished something – a feeling that is hard to come by in our modern world. Particularly at work.
Back when we were mostly an agrarian society, it was easier to see when we were done – animals fed and given clean stalls, garden weeded, wash on the line to dry. A person could end the day with a sense of accomplishment. Most of these tasks would still have to be repeated the next day, but a person could rest knowing that the job was done for that day; stability had been maintained.
Now there might be a quota of orders to fill in a warehouse, or parts to be made on an assembly line or projects to be worked on in an office but done is a bit harder to see and feel. So what if I made and received a lot of calls plus dealt with many emails, I didn’t get done because there are still more. That quota in the warehouse or plant might have been met, but there are still more behind them that the workers can see. The quota is lodged in a computer somewhere.
We need to feel a sense of accomplishment, but we’ve made this nearly impossible to achieve. That stability that previous generations could build seems nebulous to us. How do we capture and nurture it again?
I wish I could say that I have an answer that works for me. Even as I was whipping through the straightening and minor cleaning of my house this morning, there were glaring hints of the larger jobs that have been neglected for one reason or another (time, know-how, money).
One thing that I can say, since I have been aware of this accomplishment deficit, is that I make a point of reviewing what I have completed every day. Even if it wasn’t something that I intended to do, or is very minor. By consciously focusing on these checked off, crossed out tasks I can somewhat counteract the weight of all the partially done tasks in front of me.
What about you, do you know when you’re done?
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