Founder Diary

March 8, 2022

The mirage of “Done and done!”

The mirage of “Done and done!”

One day, all to-dos are checked off and you can finally rest on the laurels… Not so fast.

A hamster driving a car into the sunset.
A hamster driving a car into the sunset.
A hamster driving a car into the sunset.
Nikita Kazhin's headshot

Nikita Kazhin

Co-founder at Brick

X (formerly Twitter) logo

— an imaginary point in the future when the job is done, all your todos are checked off, followed by the state of total bliss and endless opportunity.

One reason most of us stubbornly keep overbudgeting our attention daily is that we believe in the “Done and done!” illusion.

The issue?

It isn’t real. However, it’s something incredibly easy to fall for. This illusion may look like a success ladder, but in reality, it’s little more than a hamster wheel.

So, why’s this the case?

It’s an excuse not to pay attention to the process.

“I only need to work harder these days/months/years, and then all paths will open before me!”

“What does it matter if I work into the night every day, it’s only temporary.”

This is essentially an expectation of a sudden future onslaught of free time after some part of what we’re doing now is completed. But there’s a cost to that mindset. It’s at the expense of today in the form of distractedness, overcommitment, and burnout.

There’s a reason for the saying that if you don’t have time to meditate for an hour, you should meditate for two. If you don’t have the time to reflect on the process, there’s a good chance your process is flawed.

It’s an excuse to assume more responsibilities and to multitask.

“Ok, I’ll just do [insert task] now, so that I don’t have to do it then.”

Unfortunately, by “then” we more often than not mean future work heaven when we will be, presumably and finally, truly in charge of our own time.

The problem? “Then” doesn’t exist, only “now” is real.

It’s an excuse to avoid difficult decisions and reflection.

“I don’t care about all that ‘Pause and reflect’ bullshit,’ I don’t have time for that, okay?!”

Elimination is hard. But, to be better at the things that are truly critical, we have to let go of tasks that might otherwise seem important. If some things fail to bring us closer toward our ultimate goals, keeping them equal to tasks that do leads to waste and stealing of attention from what really matters.

But how will I get everything done?

You can’t. You won’t. Quite simply, it’s impossible to have every career just as it’s impossible to sit on multiple chairs at once. You won’t be able to do every single little thing that crosses your mind.

This doesn’t mean you should limit your dreams. However, it does mean that you need to pay attention to the process, be willing to say no, and be open to reflection and reduction.

When we fall for the “done and done!” fallacy, we’re believing that there’s a magical personal highway straight to some destination where life is presumably so much better. We’re imagining all we have to do is check off an endless array of boxes that are the only things standing in the way of true happiness.

But if our to-do list is that highway and we keep letting extra cars on (think tasks), pretty soon traffic will back up and our progress will slow to a crawl.

Plus, there’s always the possibility that when we finally reach our “coveted” destination, we’ll discover that it wasn’t really that valuable in and of itself. After all, there will always be a new goal to conquer next.

So, don’t get too distracted by the destination. Sometimes the detours and exits will give us a more enjoyable ride or lead us to a new, and better, endpoint entirely. I think that with a little bit of reflection on the process, you’ll have a lovely ride, no matter your final goal — even if you fail to reach it in the end!

Thanks for reading!

Be the first to know what's new at Brick: