Sometimes one of the most challenging parts to working on tasks can often be a factor of knowing when you are finished, being satisfied that what you have completed is sufficient enough. Without a clear definition of the outcome of what you need to do we end up finishing tasks when resource run out, such as time, money, or energy, not when some optimal or ‘final and correct’ solution emerges. Herb Simon, Nobel laureate in economics, called this ‘satisficing’ — stopping when you have a solution that is ‘good enough’ (Simon 1969)
So ‘how’ can you know when you have completed something?
1. Have a well-defined goal as to what you are trying to achieve with this piece of work
2. has a definite stopping point, i.e. when you know you’ve met that goal, this can be thought of as like writing a series of acceptance criteria which you should try as much as possible to be able to objectively evaluate each as right or wrong.
With these in place whenever you start to wonder where you are heading or you are ‘thinking about how many hours you have left, and if this is enough to achieve what you need to do’ you can go back to what is essentially your plan, the end goal – the desired state and its criteria that you have formulated to remind/test your state of completion enabling you to re-align yourself in pursuit of finishing to the goal. Particularly in creative work we are in a constant cycle of thinking of the problem and solution over and over until we get the best outcome, its easy to get lost in amongst the thinking and problem solving process.
It may be two points there, but sometimes they are really challenging and there’s more than meets the eye to the theory behind this approach, some people are naturals at this, as if they have been brought up with this learning, others particularly those with highly analytical or creative minds need to develop the familiarity with this approach