September passed in the blink of an eye (a very grey and wet blink for those of us in the Mid-Atlantic), and I’m still in shock that it is already October. My resolution for ultra-speedy September was to finish an unfinished project, and I met this goal in the technical sense.
By “technical sense” I mean that half-way through the month I realized I had no desire to continue working on the project and paid someone to finish the work for me. It was $40 well spent, in my opinion. Had the charge been more than $100, I likely would have kept trudging along on the project myself. But, for a one-time cost of $40, I was happy to let someone else take care of it. Now there are just two items on my list of unfinished projects, and my hope is to finish them by the end of the year.
With unfinished items there are usually just two reasons they sit unfinished — a shift in priorities (something else becomes more important) and hitting a wall (don’t have the skills or materials required to continue working). In both cases, you have to decide if you should abandon the project completely or find a way to get the work done. Letting an unfinished project stay unfinished causes stress and guilt, neither of which are complimentary to an uncluttered life. Choosing to have someone else complete an unfinished project for you can be one way to get the item off your to-do list and this decision should be based on a number of factors:
- Time involved lining up someone to do the work (in this case, I already had a contact so it was only a few minutes). The time involved to line someone up to do the work and your management of that work should not exceed the amount of time it would take you to do the work yourself.
- Time involved to complete the work (would have been about 12 hours for me, 5 hours for the specialist). If it would take a more qualified person less time than you to complete a project, having that professional do the work may make sense.
- Your interest in doing the work (very low). Even though you may value the final outcome, you may not be the best person to do the work, especially if you have little desire to do it.
- Trust that the other person will complete the work to your standards (high, based on previous experience working with this person). The work doesn’t have to be perfect, but you shouldn’t have to hire another person or waste a significant amount of time redoing the outsourced work.
- Appropriateness of someone else doing the work (fully appropriate for someone else to do it, didn’t have to be me). It may not always be appropriate — especially at your job — to pass the work along to someone else. For example, Senators often have to make their own photocopies because their staffers don’t have the security clearance to see the information being photocopied.
- Costs involved (it would have been $0 had I done the work, but only $40 for someone else to do it).
Do you have unfinished projects camping out on your to-do list? If you do, now might be the best time to either trash the project or outsource the work to someone else. It could also be the time for you to create action items and get working on the project yourself.
For October, my resolution is to improve my posture. After reading Willpower and learning that something as simple as reminding yourself to stand up straight can increase self-control and resolve in other areas of life, I have decided to try it. My posture is awful and even if my overall willpower doesn’t improve, at least my posture will. But, since willpower is such an essential component for staying uncluttered and organized, I’ll eagerly try something as simple as working on my posture as a monthly resolution.