I’m a pretty task-oriented person. If I’m busy in the kitchen, you should probably get out. If I’m configuring a server, I’d rather not stop for some chit-chat about the cricket. I’m exaggerating but you get the point.
Recently, however, I’ve started to reconcile the clash between that nature and what seems to be a general inability to finish things. Not surprisingly, the clash causes quite some frustration and even feeling hunted by those outstanding tasks. The first step to dealing with this was to step back and realise that there’s a world of reasons why I might not get some project complete fast enough. Busyness, procrastination (here’s a good article), other priorities, lack of motivation…
This is helpful, but on its own ends up sounding like a bunch of excuses. Step up to round two: It doesn’t matter what I achieve. I have a slightly different take on Devdutt Pattanaik’s talk about infinity and so forth, in that my life is but one of six billion currently and lots more through history; plus my earthly life is but a speck in eternity. So, what does matter? People.
If there’s a moment I can spend with my daughter and I happen to be content to do so, then heck yes I’ll spend it with her. If there are dirty dishes and there isn’t anything else I particularly feel like doing, then I’ll wash them to deter any houseflies or ants which really annoy my wife. I haven’t yet gone further than my wife and daughter with this approach, but I guess it might happen.
Right now I could finish mounting that kitchen blind, tidy up some toys, or even do some extra work to make tomorrow’s system outage run more smoothly. Instead, I’m going to play some Civ 5, guilt free.
 No I don’t aim to become some sort of martyr. It’s not helpful, and I’m not made of martyr material anyway.