The Downside of Claiming “Done”

I’ve been seeing some posts going around lately about an inspirational essay written by a guy who said “done” is a magical word that can cause all sorts of happiness in you and those around you.

I’m simplifying. I should look-up the original essay and provide a link – sorry, just wanted to get these ideas out now.

“Done” is a great feeling – sure. Heck, I’ve been doing the “Getting Things Done” methodology in various forms since around 2005 or 2006. It’s good to feel progress and be able to point to a specific result that ensures you aren’t just kidding yourself.

But… in the hapless world of everything moving quicker than anyone can perceive… it’s a little too easy to claim “done” when in fact you are just frustrated with the challenge and don’t want to go on.

It’s hard to get to done. Harder than many people realize. And, of course it’s a murky territory because there can be all sorts of opinions about what “done” means.

But it’s easy to say you are done when you really should still be working on the thing. Many people won’t notice a premature “I’m done” simply because they are so caught-up in their own mess that they have no time or mental space to think about the mess you are working on. Maybe they’re just happy to know that somebody in this crazy world is done with something, so they’re happy to put their stamp of approval on what you said you did.

Next time you say you’re done, try to look at it from the perspective of someone who has all the time in the world to work on the thing. Would that person really come to the same conclusion that you just did?