You put it off for a day. And then a day becomes a week. Then before you know it, you have this nagging incomplete, following you around everywhere you go. . . reminding you that you’re that person who didn’t finish something you promised.
Yeah, it does for me too.
I hate that feeling and know it all too well. If you’re anything like me, you’re usually pretty good at getting sh– done. Maybe you’ll fall behind a day or two from time to time, but for the most part, you’re good at follow up and following through.
And most of the time it feels good. But then there is that one task, that one job, that one thing that you have on your list that you can’t seem to get done. And no matter how many times you put it on your to-do list, it just sits there – like that last guest at a party that doesn’t want to leave.
Sometimes you can ignore your incompletes – you tell yourself it’s not really making that big of an impact. Especially if incompletes don’t impact your bottom line, it’s easy to dismiss them or think they aren’t really hurting you or your business.
But the truth is that incompletes do hurt your business more than you think.
Incompletes and unfinished business can impact your business mentally and damage your reputation.
First, as you’ve probably already noticed, unfinished business weighs you down. It impacts how you feel about yourself or what you think you might deserve.
The more incompletes you have, the worse it gets. When you know something isn’t done – especially something you promised to get done, you tend to carry it with you. It starts to impact how you feel about yourself and it can also limit how much you allow yourself to receive.
It’s funny, our brain plays tricks on us and because we see incompletes as a failure – and we start to beat ourselves up. We keep making promises and breaking them, only to feel worse and worse. We tell ourselves we don’t deserve success and might even sabotage good things coming our way.
Incompletes hang over us like a black cloud until we get them done. They eat at our own personal integrity and make us feel badly about ourselves.
Worse yet, when we have unfinished business with others, it can damage our reputation. People who counted on us or believed in us no longer do. And even if we’ve done a million wonderful things, that one piece of unfinished business can be damaging.
It can cost us our reputation.
It can cost us referrals.
It can cost us our good name.
So, what do you?
How do you tackle unfinished business when nothing has worked so far?
Well, like with everything else, we have to admit to ourselves we have incompletes and unfinished business. You may know you have incompletes, you may even have an internal dialog about it daily – but, there is something important about literally saying the words out loud.
And yes, while it may feel like you’re attending an addiction recovery meeting for a moment – “Hi, I’m Linda and I have unfinished business” . . .
. . . the truth is that when you actually recognize you’ve got an issue, you can do something about it.
I recommend pulling out a sheet of paper and writing across the top the word incompletes. Underneath simply number the incompletes one-by-one. And while you might feel a little sick writing them out, try to avoid self-judgment.
Next, if you have more than one incomplete, it’s time to prioritize them.
Instead of prioritizing them by difficulty or how long they might take to complete, the best way to tackle incompletes is to start out with the one that’s been outstanding the longest period of time.
By addressing the ones that have sat on the shelf the longest, you’re sense of accomplishment (or relief) when you are done with each step builds your confidence and belief that you can get it all done.
Once you’ve prioritized your incompletes, it’s time to get to work.
The hardest piece about catching up is that we’re so busy with our current work, it feels like we never have time to devote to the things we need to do to catch up.
I often suggest taking an entire day just to complete your incompletes. If you’re trying to fit it in your normal schedule (which is what I always do), chances are that other, more pressing matters are going to come up and you NEVER get the incompletes done.
This blog is being written during the holidays because it’s an excellent time to set aside time to focus on incompletes.
Most of us tend to take some time off during the holidays so it’s a great time to work on things that might keep us from making 2019 the best year yet. I personally am scheduling an entire day to work on my incompletes before I tackle my 2019 plan.
Either way, I recommend taking the day – even if it means sacrificing some family time because it will ultimately allow you to be more present and able to participate in your time with others.
One last thing I recommend doing is putting together a plan for incompletes going forward. Maybe set a monthly check-in with yourself or have an accountability partner who can keep you on task.
The trick is to make sure that they don’t get past the point of no return because, whether we’re paying attention or not, incompletes can truly hold you back from being the best you can be – personally and in your business.
Have any ideas that you want to share about how you tackle incompletes? Post them in the comments below! I’d love to hear and would love to share your ideas with others in my audience👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻