Why we leave things undone

Design: Fatima Jahan Ena

The painting that you had started with so much enthusiasm now sits on your table, half done, making you question a lot of your decisions. Other things that you had started impulsively or with all your heart, now remain incomplete, seemingly staring back at you from every corner. How often do you find yourself in that situation? Has leaving things undone or incomplete become a habit?

Often, we look back at all the things we have left undone and they start to take a toll on us, either by affecting our productivity or demotivating us. This creates a cycle where we often find ourselves starting a task and then not being able to finish it. Chances are this is not merely procrastination, and several other factors might be contributing to this hindrance.

The unfairly high standards we set for ourselves might be one possible explanation. We often start a task with a clear vision but, when things do not go accordingly, we tend to give up. The fear of judgement, either from ourselves or from others, might be stopping us from getting back to the task. In this case, focusing on the process instead of the results might prove to be more helpful.

Again, the process or the journey might not be as smooth as we may have expected, as it's natural to face hurdles along the way. This can overwhelm many to the point where they would rather abandon a task than go forward. In this case, it may be worthwhile to take a step back to gain some perspective. If you are too overwhelmed, take a breather and try to get back to the task with a clearer mind.

Lack of motivation caused by self-doubt or lack of commitment is another challenge. However, lack of motivation can potentially be a symptom of more serious underlying conditions like anxiety, depression, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Motivation is key when taking up and completing a task, so if this is where you are getting stuck, take some time to understand what is causing it. Figure out what might motivate you or look back at the thing that motivated you to start the task in the first place.

Distractions are only natural and sometimes a break, or several breaks, may be necessary. But if you are continuously getting distracted and finding it hard to get back to the task, some self-discipline might be required.

The last thing that might be a cause of hindrance is the simple fact that you have committed yourself to too many tasks at the same time. In this case, try to prioritise your tasks and divide your time amongst the more important ones. Depending on the priority of the task, you may opt to eliminate a task altogether. That way, it does not occupy extra space in your mind either.

So, if you find yourself leaving things undone too often, it might be a sign to give it some attention.

Remind Rudaiba to get back at the things she has left undone at rudaiba.rhymee@gmail.com


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