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Exercise Your “Done” Muscle

A lot of us have problems getting things finished. Several reasons come to mind: procrastination, the need to be perfect, distractions by other things, failure to prioritize. Here are eight tips for exercising what I call your “done” muscle.

1. Get clear about what it is that you are trying to accomplish. Once you have clarity around your goals and/or a particular project, it’s much easier to move forward. As you work, keep your eye on the prize. This will help you progress.

2. Break your project down into manageable tasks. When you look at a goal or a specific project, it can seem overwhelming. If you can break it down into bite-size pieces, it’s always easier to see how you can accomplish it.

3. Look for where you need help. Just because you have a big project, doesn’t mean that you need to do it all yourself. Remember, it’s not necessary to know how to do everything, just what needs to be done.

4. Prioritize what needs to be done. This can apply to a specific project or your daily “to do” list. It’s easy to look for the quick and uncomplicated things to do each day so you can check them off the list. The problem is you aren’t really accomplishing what you need to accomplish. What you should be doing is tackling those projects that move you towards completing your goal.

5. Consider the ROI. That’s Return on Investment. You can look at your tasks and see if time spent doing these tasks is worth your time. Maybe you should delegate the tasks or not even do them at all.

6. Finish what you start. Make that your goal. Really look around at how many people actually finish what they set out to do. Many people say they are going to do something and don’t ever complete it.

7. Remember good enough is often good enough. Sometimes we spend so much time aiming for perfection that we don’t accomplish our goals.

8. Don’t over-think everything. As the Nike ad says, “Just do it.”

If you have a tip for exercising your “done” muscle, please share it on the blog.

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4 Responses to “Exercise Your “Done” Muscle”


  1. Marié said:

    I need to practice the “Done’ muscle a lot. It is not because I strive for perfection that my stuff do not get done. New projects energize me and if I do not complete it quick, another “new” project beg to be started! So I guess for me self discipline is the answer!


  2. Laura Estes said:

    Since I am the victim of more ideas than any 10 people could finish in two lifetimes, unfinished projects abound. Over the years, I have managed a system of organization that allows me to locate UFO’s most of the time, still lots of non-done projects. What has helped me in the last 4-5 years is a little sticky note that travels to each new day on my calendar, that says “Finish a Project”. I select a project to finish each day, and make it a priority. It helps me stay focused.


  3. Morna said:

    Marié, you have BSOS – Bright Shiny Object Syndrome! Me, too. Always entranced and distracted by that new shiny something. I’ll have to write about it some week – unless I get distracted by some BSO. 🙂

    Laura, love that idea. I’ll have to give it a try!


  4. Shelly said:

    One good way to get perspective on “the list of things to do” is to take a break. I just came back from 10 sunny days in Chapala, Mexico (without my computer). There is nothing like a break from the everyday busy-ness of business to help me re-evaluate what I’ve been doing.

    I suspect I’ll be a little more generous with myself and not pile so many things on my pile. At least for a while… 🙂

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