You Don’t Have to Finish Today {Mantra 14}

I look at the list of things I want to accomplish today.

The list is too long. I know it when I see it. I’d love to get to each item today and spend ample time on each.

But it’s impossible.

So I remind myself of this mantra on an almost daily basis:

You don’t have to finish today.

I’m not a procrastinator by nature. I really do like to start AND finish things (I’m an Upholder, if you know about Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies quiz).

But if a project isn’t time-sensitive, while it may need finishing eventually, it rarely has to be finished today.

And there are things that NEVER have to be finished. We will leave life with unfinished business. 

So for now, take the pressure off yourself by saying it’s okay to stop for the day.

Even if it’s not complete.

Maybe not for everything. But for most things? It’s alright.

You don’t have to finish today.

Is it hard or easy for you to shut down for the day if you’re not finished? Share in the comments.

Read More:

You are on Day #14 of the series: Find Your Mantra {28 Daily Mantras}

Find Your Mantra: 28 Daily Mantras

Focus on the highest good” {Mantra 13}

Oh, well. So what?” {Mantra 15}

18 thoughts on “You Don’t Have to Finish Today {Mantra 14}

  1. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Miss Lisa, I read your wonderful mantra masterpieces daily, but don’t always get to comment. FINISH, as you know, is my word, and I can write a book on procrastination. So I can’t quite take this to heart, or I will never FINISH anything. However, there is a lot of wisdom here, still, for me. Some of what I know I need to finish are longstanding projects, and that is the problem. They’re large, so they loom. It’s good for me to know I can finish a little at a time, and not the whole thing at once. It’s because I get overwhelmed, I don’t start. So that is the perfectionist kicking in–all or NOTHING. Guess what I often choose? It’s okay not to finish it all at once. That is my *personal* tweaking of your mantra. And wow, what a timely reminder–that we will leave this world w/ unfinished business. That truth should set our minds to spinning about prioritizing and finishing what truly matters, and leave the rest undone. Love you, Lisa!

  2. Anita Ojeda

    I’m so glad this is true! The older I get, the. more self-disciplined I’m becoming–maybe because I tell myself I don’t HAVE to finish something (and then end up finishing it because I’m so close to being done). Maybe loosening my expectations makes it easier to finish.

  3. Lesley

    I work in the kind of job where I will never be finished no matter what I do! It took me a while to accept that and to differentiate between what I actually needed to do and what could wait, but now I am very used to leaving things unfinished!

  4. Maryleigh

    The grace God gives in the realization that not all things are meant to be “finished” right now! In the last five years, I have come to sense in the ebb and flow that some things need to be let go until tomorrow – that I don’t have to scrabble to complete today. It’s depressurized my life.

  5. Lynn

    Oh I needed this mantra today! I feel behind on projects and my tasks, and know I can’t get all done. That is okay. I am not ending the world by not getting it done. 🙂 God is in control.

  6. Lisa Blair

    I like to finish projects, but when they’re large, it is not possible to finish in one day. I have learned to break things up into smaller projects and “finish” the piece or task for the day or week, and this helps me feel good for “finishing” one piece and be okay about not “finishing” the overall project.

  7. Kym

    This is something that helps with priorities too. The dishes will still be there tomorrow. The loved ones that want you to spend time with them are more important. 🙂 I’m glad I don’t have to finish everything today and tomorrow is another day to work at it! (Full disclosure – I’m a procrastinator!)

  8. Joanne Viola

    It is so important to remember it is OK to finish a task over the course of time. Interruptions happen and most times, those were the very tasks that needed to get done 🙂 Rather than get frustrated now, I try to see the bigger picture so I don’t miss what is most important.

  9. Laura Thomas

    A good reminder, Lisa—thank you! I really don’t like having projects and work left unfinished, but you are right, it doesn’t always have to be completed TODAY! And perhaps sometimes my to-do lists are a teeny bit ambitious… ?

  10. Theresa Boedeker

    Lisa, this has been something my husband taught me. I would go and go until something was done. I mean, who needs sleep some nights. : ) But this is a healthier attitude. And then so many things are never really done. Or only done for a short while. I am looking at you, chores and cooking.

  11. Lory @ Entering the Enchanted Castle

    There are some things I find really hard to stop – once I start a writing project it will bug me till it’s done. However, in other cases I’m very good at procrastinating! I think it’s with relationships that I most often have to remind myself that change takes time, sleep on it and things will look different in the morning. Sometimes it’s hard to shut the book on a conversation or a conflict that I really want to resolve, but it has to be done.

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