Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they’ve started. — David Allen
I don’t celebrate Christmas; I celebrate Chanukah. So, I’m already thinking about the New Year. Not that the secular New Year is a Jewish holiday, but I enjoy any holiday that asks me to reassess my life, to look at my past actions and met or unmet goals and to set new intentions.
After completing my yearly physical yesterday and being told to reduce my stress level, I discovered the above quote from David Allen in an email. “That’s the ticket,” I thought.
Allen had pinpointed a huge source of my stress. I have started so many writing projects over the years and that I’ve never finished, and many of them remain on my to-list. And…I continue to start new ones while the others remain unfinished.
Part of this is due to the fact that I write nonfiction. This means I write two or three chapters to a book, create a book proposal and let my agent market that proposal while I go on to other projects. In some cases I’ve written short versions of these books (booklets), but I haven’t ever written the full-length versions. I probably have six or seven of these projects to date. I also have a completed book that was under contract but the publisher changed its focus and gave the manuscript back to me; I never found another publisher. And I have a novel that needs editing.
I’ve been thinking about going through these projects one by one and knocking them off my list. Allen’s quote has convinced me…
In 2011, it is my intention to systematically complete my unfinished projects. I don’t even care what that entails financially, because money has tended to be my excuse for not completing some of these projects. And I will make time; time has been another excuse.
Of course, I will leave a few to my agent…I’ll take those off my to-do list and leave them on hers.
What about you? Will you make time this year to finish what you have started–and thereby reduce your to-do list and, subsequently, your stress level?