Why this four-letter word will help your productivity

Done is one of the best four-letter words out there. And this is coming from someone who loves using a few other four-letter words to express myself fully. Sometimes, they just feel satisfying to say.

And “done” is in the same category when it comes to feeling good to say. It feels fantastic to utter because it conveys completion.

It turns out that using the word “done”, actually, affects the brain positively. Psychologist and neuro performance specialist Leslie Sherlin says, “…the moment we say we are done with something, the electrical activity in our brain shifts from being activated and engaged into a more relaxed state…[and] that relaxed state looks very similar to meditators or individuals who practice mindfulness techniques.”

Using the word done to describe work (or even conversations, relationships, meals, etc.) as finished is calming.

It signals that you can rest, and stop for a minute. And we all know how good slowing down and regrouping is for the psyche and your well-being. What I know for sure is that it is incredibly satisfying to be able to say you have completed something – even if that something is part of a whole, or a bigger picture.

And that is a key concept to remember.

Progress is an important component in getting things done. Progress matters. Done does not mean done for good. Nor does it mean perfect or that no further work is needed. On the contrary, “done” can mean that you have made progress in completing something that helps your overall goal. And that can help you feel better than good.

It also keeps you more productive because that feeling of accomplishment is very appealing. So much so that you usually want to duplicate it. As you keep completing the parts and make progress, you are propelled to work towards that next level of done-ness and satisfaction.

And let’s face it, we are all looking to feel accomplished, and proud of the work we have completed.

Done is a great four-letter word that propels you to do more

The same concept of progress when it comes to done-ness applies to getting organized, or in shape, or making any big, daunting lifestyle change. To do any of those things requires completing smaller projects and plans and processes in order to see progress and create the change you want.

When you can find ways to be “done” with parts, the “whole” starts to feel possible.

Here are three ways to get yourself using the word “done” more often and increase your productivity (and pride) in the process:

1. Start small.

If you were asked to eat an elephant it would be quite a feat to accomplish in one sitting. You can imagine how unappealing and daunting it would feel. Like any large task, the best way to tackle it would be to do so one.bite.at.a.time. Starting small is better than spinning your wheels and making no recognizable progress at all. When you break down any large, daunting tasks into smaller parts they will look and feel more doable and less overwhelming. Starting is important. Starting small is imperative to make sustainable, palpable progress.

2. Track your progress.

Whether it is a list or a journal, track what you have completed. Keep note of it. When you keep track of what you have done, you can more easily shift gears and adjust the sails if necessary. You also boost your esteem and raise your level of satisfaction which keeps you wanting to move on.

3. Reward yourself.

Give yourself a pat on the back or an “atta-girl/boy” for getting something done. Go to a movie, take a break, call a friend. Do something that allows you to really embrace the feeling of being done and be proud of what you have accomplished. Rewards go a long way. It doesn’t matter how small the task is that you have completed. When you are done with it, you are done. It is an accomplishment and it is reason to celebrate. And it just so happens that it encourages you to be more productive.

Instead of thinking that you are only done when you’ve reached the end of a big, daunting goal you have set for yourself, think small. Be aware of every step you take towards making progress. And be proud for all you have accomplished.

No doubt it will uplift you, and move you to get more done.

Showing 2 comments
  • Rosemary Verri

    You know; that really is a good word. I tend to say it at least once ever day. I leave my desk at the end of the day- or a “project” and I hear myself say “done”. By saying it, my whole body changes – It’s like exhaling – one relaxes for that often very long moment!

    • Francesca

      Yes! I am so happy you experience the benefits of “done”. Although, it doesn’t surprise me. 🙂

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