I have always had the habit of half-assing things. I remember being a kid and my mother constantly reminding me to complete tasks I started and do them well.
At least, “Emma, don’t half-ass it.” sounds somewhat refined in a British accent.
But it just wasn’t in my nature. Especially, not as a child.
When she told me to clean my room, I’d shove everything into the closet and under the bed. If I couldn’t see it, it didn’t bother me.
Until I had to find something, that is.
What a pain to pull everything out of wherever I shoved it so I could comb through a giant pile looking for one thing. Once I found what I was looking for, I’d shove everything else back in. Then the cycle would start over.
Some of these habits carried over into my adult life.
It was like the memory of my mother nagging me to “Do something right the first time” made it impossible to do. I was an adult now, so I could do it however I wanted.
I could let dirty dishes pile up in the sink and leave the wet towel on the floor.
Then I bought my own place and I started caring more about how it looked.
I didn’t want to leave a mess, even in the closets. It was nice to know where everything was, and for it to look pretty in its place.
But the half-assing didn’t go away.
When we were painting my condo, the window sills were hard to get. So, we painted around the outside, and left the insides white. It didn’t look great, but I told myself I’d finish it later. Or get curtains to cover it up.
It didn’t help that I worked in a half-assed environment. Things got started, but were never followed through.
We’d start a new system or program, and drop it as soon as a new one came along. We were always ordering the sampler platter and never having a meal.
At work, that got to me. I noticed the gaps. The effects it was having on everyone. I started to joke that our mascot should be one butt cheek. Our motto could be: “Where we half-ass everything!”
Then I went home and looked at the unfinished window sills.
It was ugly and it bothered me. But, I knew it would be a big pain to complete.
I had finished with painting over a year before. All the supplies were put away. Not to mention it would take three different colors to finish the windows in every room.
Eventually, I couldn’t take it anymore.
So I got the paint out of the closet and laid down the tarps. The funny thing was it took three times longer to set up for the painting than it took to actually paint.
It would have been so much faster and easier if I had just done it all the way the first time.
Holy crap, my mother was right!
At work I could see how half-assing was actually taking more time and energy than doing one thing well from the start. It may be out of my hands there, but at home, I’m in charge.
And I’m not half-assing things anymore. I’d rather do it right and completely the first time. Then I don’t have to worry about finishing it later.
It’s already done.
Half an ass is unbalanced, unstable. With half an ass, you can’t even sit down. So, why would it work in life?
Are you someone who half-asses or finished something you start? Can you work in an environment where nothing is ever finished?