Here’s a little exercise I do every now and then, which I find really useful, so I thought I would share it with you. I walk around my house and look for things that aren’t being completed. That sometimes includes stuff like: a book on my bedside table that hasn’t been opened in a few weeks, a small touch-up can of paint that has been there for awhile but not opened, a reminder stuck to my fridge that has been there way past any kind of expiration date – you get my drift.
I then do one of two things: I either consciously override my resistance and complete it or I declare it complete as is. Declaring it complete as is, for example, could be taking the book next to my bed, closing it and putting it back on a book shelf. If I want to pick it up at another time – fine, I do it, but for now it’s complete.
When I do this exercise, I am also reminded of things outside my home that are also incomplete such as getting back to a friend, reserving a seat at a ball game or concert or, whatever I might have committed to but didn’t follow up on.
Here’s a couple of obvious benefits to handling incompletes. One: things that I have started but not completed take up space in my brain somewhere. That’s great when those things are moving forward but not so great when they are in limbo. So, completing something always makes me feel lighter and energized. Two: completion is a key part of transformation and satisfaction. It generally feels good to complete stuff. Sometimes reengaging can feel uncomfortable for some reason but pretending that the incomplete is not a drain on you is just that: pretending. Incomplete stuff is an energy drain.
Here’s a not so obvious benefit. If you feel like you have boundary issues, practicing completion will help you to have more effective boundaries in your life. This might seem surprising but people who have boundary issues almost always are challenged in getting things to completion somewhere in their lives.
Try this exercise periodically and I think you will be surprised at how it can energize you and have you feeling a little more on top of your life.
P.S. If you have kids, you can also encourage them to do their own incompletions check. It’s usually most instructive when you let them choose whether to complete something or declare it complete themselves. This can be a great habit to develop that can pay off throughout their lives.