One Thing at a Time: Stop Starting, Start Finishing

Is one thing at a time possible?


I was walking with the Big Man this morning and he was telling me about how he finalized refinancing our cabin and how long our mortgage was now and the new terms and the new monthly payments and how the taxes were included because lenders like to make sure you won’t default and on and on.

I was listening!  I was!

Then he said, “I took your advice and just did it.  Although I definitely could have spent several more hours researching and weeks waiting to see if the rates would drop further, it wasn’t worth keeping on my to do list.  I’m happy to be done with it.”

I was completely tickled.  My satisficer ways are rubbing off on him and he actually admitted to taking my advice.

I replied, “Well, I took your advice yesterday too!  Instead of just writing the next journaling prompt for Joy Juice, I powered through and finished the whole dang thing like you said.  I was so damn close to being done — I just wanted to cross it off my list.  I’m soooo happy it’s finally done!” After my outburst, I did a happy dance on the sidewalk, complete with fist pumps and hands-on-hips cheerleader stag split jumps.

And then I started laughing hysterically and punched my husband on the arm.

“We gave each other exactly the same advice… Just get it done.”


The Big Man and I always have a million things on our various lists.  We have a huge chalkboard in our living room that says, “All the Things” for shared personal life items and both keep extensive work and life lists of our own.  Bucket lists, business task lists, chore lists, weekend trip lists, recipes to try lists…

Couple our listing addiction with my own natural Activator strength, and I have dozens of projects going on at any one time.

Literally dozens.

Normally I love this — I don’t get bored, I have plenty of new things to learn, and I see progress on a daily basis.

Lately, however, it feels like we talk more about what is on our lists than actually taking care of the items. And I know that I continue to add things at a faster rate than I’m getting them done.

I think part of the problem is that we are still in a huge period of uncertainty and new priorities. We’re spread a little thin.  There are major changes happening with one of his businesses, I’m completely refocusing Stratejoy right now, we’re not sure where we are going to be living in 3 months, and we’ve got the addition of a baby!

The baby.

He definitely messes (in the most adorable and demanding ways) with our ability to balance all our action items and get them done on our normal timeline. We knew it was coming and absolutely welcome it, but the lack of control of our time is still a slightly stupefying experience.

I haven’t really eased up on myself at all and I probably should!  There’s just no way I’m going to get as much done as I used to in a day.  And there’s no way I should expect it to happen.

(All the mamas are nodding their heads,”Duh, Molly.”)


I’m craving completion.  And apparently I need someone else to give me permission to focus on one thing at a time, instead of trying to make progress on a million pieces at once. When you have an “urgent and important” list everyday of more than 5 items, you know you’re off kilter with your priorities.

When both of us are telling each other to “just get it done” it is clear there is a need for less things “to do”.

I don’t want to live my life slave to my lists.

I’m going to give finishing, rather than starting, my complete focus right now. I would like a beautifully clean chalkboard in my living room so that I can have some empty mental space to lounge around in.   I would like to stop talking about all the things I need to do and just do them.  I would like to revisit some voluntary simplicity.

My mantras for the next couple of months? Stop starting, start finishing.  One thing at at time.  Say no. “Accept the fact that both your time and your energy are limited, and that therefore everything can’t be top priority.”

And since I’m trying to disclose personal details on Wednesdays…

My priorities are

  • Spending quality time with my son and husband every day
  • Launching the new Stratejoy website
  • Planning and selling out Elevate Mastermind
  • Healthy eating, tons of water and lots of sleep

My priorities are not

  • Keeping a clean house or decorating the nursery
  • Worrying about what I wear/getting “ready” for the day
  • Starting a new workout routine (walks and occasional yoga will be fine for now)
  • Contributing to every telesummit, bonus goodies, or blog posts that I’m asked to contribute to
  • Making new connections

I’m hoping that as the new year rolls in, I’ll have cleared so many things from my plate and mental list that I’ll feel an expanse of space.  And ease.  And possibility.

(And then I can decide what gets to land a coveted spot on my 2013 priority list!)



Real Talk
In real time

Inner truth + outer alignment = unapologetic joy

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Real Talk
In real time

Inner truth + outer alignment = unapologetic joy

Get my weekly-ish love notes to help you reclaim an intimate, honest + joyful relationship with yourself, for the good of all.