Modern culture places a lot of value on getting things done, and for good reason. Accomplishing what we need to do is satisfying. Productivity helps us feel competent and confident. At the same time, we can become so focused on completing tasks that we sometimes end up feeling like machines instead of people. Today’s quote comes from columnist Anna Quindlen, who said, “I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.”
This quote challenges me.
While there is tremendous satisfaction in accomplishing what needs to get done, there can also be great value in the process. I’ve been thinking about what we might gain when we try to “treasure the doing” and here are a few ideas I’ve come up with:
- Relationships with people we meet along our way
- Knowledge, wisdom, and perspective from our daily experiences
- Confidence from working through challenges
- Joy as we celebrate small victories
- Patience that comes from having to wait
- Empathy as a result of going through tough times
- Satisfaction from knowing that we are showing up day after day
- Contentment and gratitude because we have work to do
Few jobs can be described as “perpetual fun.” Whether you work for pay, work at home, or volunteer, it’s easy to get discouraged by feelings of inadequacy, insufficient time, unreasonable demands, and more. Still, when we look back on our lives, we will likely see that there were many good moments sprinkled throughout our work.
Today I encourage you to choose one activity for which you won’t worry about the result. Enter in with the mindset that “the fun is in the doing.” For instance:
- Exercise without tracking your time, distance, or number of steps
- Try a new recipe that can go in the trash if it comes out lousy
- Read for pleasure
- Brainstorm a new solution, initiative, or event without having to make it happen
- Listen to a podcast that has no direct benefit, but that you just find interesting
- Play with children
- Drive a new route to get to work or school
- Go outside and look up at the sky
- Try a new playlist or radio station
Remember, the prize at the end of life is not a trophy, medal, or purse, but a life well-lived.
How could you shift focus today to “treasure the doing?”