I have a phrase I often repeat with clients: “Good and done is better than none.” But it’s not always apropos.


A few posts back, I talked about the organizing myths we try to tell ourselves, and as I think back on it I realize I left something out. I didn’t actually finish that post.

Truth be told, I never truly feel finished with posts. I could write, rewrite, and rewrite – that was probably half of my trouble getting my book published. If I hadn’t called “time” and put my metaphorical pencil down, I never would have completed it. Other authors I know experience similar pitfalls. The best way for me to stop tweaking a blog post is to sleep on it, then accept that I’ve committed to an order of posting and sharing it. It helps to know I can stretch material into other posts, too (case in point).

But back to my story – what I left out of that truth post is the myth about being done.

You’re never actually going to be 100%, put-a-bow-on-it done, with much of anything. I mean, yes, ok, you might be “done” with that guy who talks about his ex every time you go for coffee, or your HOA lady who freaks out about the color of your mailbox – but I’m not talking about setting boundaries.

There’s this unfortunate fantasy out there that once you “get organized,” you never have to mess with it again. As if all your freshly containerized crap will stay frozen in time, just like filtered shots on Instagram. The dirty secret is, you’re going to get your drawers all pretty and ordered, but eventually you’ll need to do them again, or shift them, or change their purpose. When your children grow and need space for their school supplies, those drawers will change. Or they might get full from one too many kids’ meal freebies, or disposable face masks, or whatever. Is the resulting disorder evidence of your failure as an organized person, or evidence of your success in cultivating small humans?

You’ll get items knocked off the work to-do list, and more will come. The emails don’t stop, any more than we all stop talking. This phenomenon might mean you’re behind, or it might mean you have meaningful work and that others trust you with tasks. What, you want to go to work one day and have…nothing?*

You will get bills paid, and then a month will go by, and lo-and-behold there they are again. Their reappearance could mean you’re spending beyond your means, or it may mean you can be grateful to have your electricity and Netflix for another month.

These scenarios are evidence of life, yes? If there’s absolutely nothing left to do, finish, check off, respond to, well… you’re likely in a different spot from the rest of us (and not reading this post).

And it also doesn’t mean there’s no point in working towards goals, towards completion. It feels super lovely for about 24 hours after the lawn gets mowed. It’s pretty cool to admire the empty laundry basket for the 6 minutes, 38 seconds before underwear and socks hit it again. Go easy with yourself when more comes, when change occurs. We don’t live in museums, or social media posts, or a dog-eared copy of Getting Things Done. Thank God.


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He may or may not have neglected to separate.


*As attractive a circumstance as that might sound, I’ve actually been there – I had a job once where no one would give me anything to do. Zip, zero, nada. Frankly, the whole operation was kind of sketch. To keep from going bonkers, I got really good at FreeCell and left after about six weeks.