Every day can feel like a never ending series of tasks. When confronted with this unceasing tide of work, the compulsion is to rise up, face it head-on and defeat it. Knocking down these tasks, labeling them as done and moving onto the next.
This approach can grant that much sought after endorphin rush that one needs to move onto the next task. Its a wonderful system, but it has issues.
I am not saying that you should not be moving through your daily task. Things do need to get done, but it is important that you have a better definition of done.
Instead of looking at done as binary (done or not done). It helps to take a gradient view of a tasks completeness. I like to take the “good, better, best” approach to my done-ness.
A task that is done to good is done at a appropriate level for myself. I am usually not comfortable sharing something I think is good. Instead I tend to keep it to myself unless pressed. I take that time to think about what i have done and hopefully have an opportunity to make the task better.
When it is done better, I feel much more comfortable sharing it with others. This is something I think is good enough for me and that I have taken the time to try and make better.
After sharing a better task with others, I will incorporate any feedback or criticism to hopefully present the best version of my done task.
For some tasks this is overkill. Once I have taken a task to best, I can jump steps when tackling the work again. Moving straight to better.
You might be saying to yourself, “wait, is anything every “done” in this system?” The fun answer is no. Nothing is or will ever be perfect. So you always have permissions to revisit it later.
This is especially helpful since as you grow and learn, your ideas of “good, better and best” will change as well.
My TLDR here is slow down. Yes, you want to get a task done and often need to do it quickly, but the only way the task and you are going to get better is through process. Nothing will ever be perfect, but that doesn’t mean that quickness should be your most important metric. Instead you need to embrace a system of your own that allows you to improve your work.
For me that often means a multi-stage checklist. For new tasks, I will not what needs to get done and then build in follow up steps that push it the better and best stages.
I use the word done liberally. It is an easier concept for people to understand, but I no longer believe in the word in the same way I used to. Instead of chasing the idea of getting something done, I am trying to grow my skill set while presenting an ever-improving definition of done.