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Making friends with the tyranny of ‘Being Finished’

Most of the time I mosey along, happy to be working in and on my business, enjoying the freedom and control I have to do what I want – when I want.

But some days, I feel a creeping unease – something which for a long time I just thought of as ‘stress’, but for which I have now pinned down a more accurate term. In these moments, what I feel is the Tyranny of Being Finished.

You see, when you run your own business, there’s no such thing as ‘Finished’. There is always – always! – something more you could be doing.

I was always one of those kids who had their assignments done days ahead of the deadline. I liked to get things done. I never liked deadlines hanging over my head – being up against the wall always stressed me out.

And so, it is with some amusement that I come to see that I’ve chosen a career path that leaves me constantly running against deadlines – to get orders complete, to get *bespoke* to print on time (when I owned it), to get blog posts done and posted…

On the whole, the path I’ve chosen makes me very, very happy. I love being in charge. I love being in control. I love being able to dream up new ideas and then bring them into being, without someone telling me I can’t.

But I don’t love never being done. 

I think this is why I have never enjoyed any sort of housework. In fact, I used to think at length about the futility of cleaning when I worked as a commercial cleaner during uni (one has to pay the bills somehow!). The fact that the cleaning was never, ever done – it was only temporarily suspended.

No doubt that old saying ‘a woman’s work is never done’ has popped into your head about now. When you have a job (disclaimer, not all jobs, and obviously this does not apply to most professions) you can go home at the end of the day and forget about it. At least, until tomorrow.

For a few sweet hours, you have freedom.

I think the perfect example of this is school. When you were at school, or uni, those weeks that stretched between the end of one year and the start of the next were a kind of dream-world of freedom. No exams, no assignments, no work – just time stretching in front of you, to fill as you saw fit. At least, that was my experience! And oh, how I enjoyed that freedom…

However, I realise that ‘The Tyranny of Being Finished’ and I will need to make friends if I am to continue down this path I’ve started upon.

I need to be able to confront him at the end of the day and say “Enough! I’ve done enough, I’ve done my best, and that will have to do – at least for today.”

Then I can rest, and sleep, with the knowledge that tomorrow I will pick up where I left off, and continue to do so into infinity… without fear.

Do you battle with the Tyranny of Being Finished?


Van Den has written 320 posts in this blog.

Jess Van Den is the editor of Create & Thrive, and has been a full-time creative entrepreneur since 2010. She makes eco-conscious, contemporary, handmade sterling silver jewellery under the Epheriell label, and blogs about her jewellery and other beautiful things at You can catch her on twitter @JessVanDen.


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