The Wisdom of Knowing You’ll Never Be Done

Nov 2, 2022

We all have certain deep psychological tendencies or patterns that recur.

Mindfulness, therapy, self-compassion, journaling, and a host of other techniques can help soften their sticky grip on our choices and reactions but rarely, if ever, will a deeply rooted tendency leave us for forever.

I used to find this truth depressing but nowadays, more often than not, I find it hilarious. “Oh, here you are again old friend. What’s brought you sniffing around?”

Case in point: one of my most tenacious tendencies is wanting to be done. I have a tendency, which grows almost maniacal when I’m stressed, to focus on getting done with whatever I’m doing.

So much so that I’ll walk around muttering about everything I’ve already done and what else I still have to do.

Needless to say, that’s not a particularly pleasant or present way to go through life.

Why then do I find it hilarious?

Because where do I think I’m in such a hurry to get to? What happens after I’m done with whatever it is I’m doing?

Is there some ultimate prize I believe will rain from the heavens upon my adorable head? Will I sink into a hammock and watch the waves for the rest of my days?

When I pause in the midst of whatever I’m doing–reading a client’s work, brainstorming marketing ideas for a client’s book launch, running a mountain trail, writing this article–and ask myself, ‘What do I want to do when I finish that’s better than what I’m doing right now?” the answer is almost always…


I love the way I spend the majority of my time.

And what makes this pattern even more hilarious is I’ve had a meditation practice for more than 40 years, read many of the popular books about hustle culture and doing less (see a few favs below), interviewed some of these writers for my podcast (episodes linked below), and still, somedays, here I am.

Need Help Getting Started
Making Your Thing?

Grab the stunningly intuitive & effective:

Make Your Thing Guide

Jettison self-doubt and create out loud today. Plus a shot of weekly email moxie. And it’s all free!

I’m not one of those creepy people who make it hard to unsubscribe or email you again nine years after you’ve unsubscribed. Giving me your email is like a coffee date, not a marriage proposal.

I could see myself as a failure or I could see this pattern as a loving invitation to keep practicing acceptance.

Acceptance: the first move we all need to make whenever we feel gripped by one of our patterns or personality quirks.

To accept the pattern is here — again — and with great tenderness and perhaps wry laughter, say “hi here you are and I accept you are here.”

I practice a simple meditation technique alternating phrases like “this, too, “yes,” and “hello you are here.”

I recorded myself doing a bit of it here.

The one thing I know for certain is that fighting my pattern, judging myself, or making some complicated plan to address this once and for all never ever works.

But accepting it, welcoming it? Then my experience is one of spaciousness, peacefulness, a feeling of settling into reality, self-compassion, and sometimes, more energy.

I choose to practice acceptance rather than decide I’m hopeless because once again I’m running toward being finished.

What about you?


Horse by Geraldine Brooks (Amazon | Bookshop) is a magnificent novel.

Podcast convos with thought mentors on approaching time differently include Celeste Headlee, Oliver Burkeman, and my first episode with the wonderful Anne Lamott.

My favorite books about changing your relationship with time and hustling include A Sideways Look at Time by Jay Griffiths (Amazon | Bookshop), The Wisdom of No Escape by Pema Chodron (Amazon | Bookshop), Do Nothing by Celeste Headlee (Amazon | Bookshop), and Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman (Amazon | Bookshop).

Are you on the advance list for Taos and my new programs Start Your Book, Find your Hook and Finish Your Book, Find Your Reader? Seats will go fast.

New writing post: Should you write every day?​

Thanks for reading! Happy fall!

Jettison Self-Doubt and Lose the Itty-Bitty-Shitty Committee and Make Your Thing Now

From the national best-selling author of The Woman’s Comfort Book and Why Bother.

Made for writers, artists, mail art makers, knitters of sock puppets, creative entrepreneurs, photographers, Tarot readers, and anybody who needs to make stuff they love.

I’m not one of those creepy people who make it hard to unsubscribe or email you again nine years after you’ve unsubscribed. Giving me your email is like a coffee date, not a marriage proposal.