Plow Through or Ease Up?

Recently, a friend of mine was trying to finish up a PhD dissertation that had been in the works for several years. As the end date neared, she was finding it harder and harder to stay focused and do brilliant work. We were chatting over how to stay motivated at the end of a long project and I suggested that at some point, a person just has to plow through, do her best, and get to the end. We can always go back and make corrections or adjustments after the fact—but sometimes, finishing is what it is all about.

There are those other times when a person has lost perspective and has been working so long and hard on a particular business problem or project that taking a break or doing something else for a while is in order. Sometimes, what seems completely confusing and insurmountable one day, can all come together an be a breeze if one just takes a couple days off and comes back with a fresh perspective and fresh energy.

I tend to be someone who plows through more often than I ease up and walk away. Of course, this means that I need to give myself the time and the self-awareness to know that I may need to go back and re-do things or look things over carefully for errors. But I find that I do better most times if I just focus on getting done and finishing up a first draft, or a report or other project rather than fussing over trying to do things perfectly the first time through. It takes some self understanding and appreciation for one’s own temperament and process—not to mention some decent time management—in order to decide whether to just plow through, or ease up and take a break when faced with a daunting task or project.

See Also: Balancing Business With Pleasure

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