Do you want it done, or do you want to do it?

journeyIn my dealings with clients, I always ask the question:

“Do you want it done, or do you want to do it?” Do you want to have the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, or do you want to experience the ride along the way too?

Many times, people are so focused on getting the job done, that there is no “presence”…presence of mind, presence of experience or presence in the journey.

I’m sure we can all relate to deadlines, especially when those deadlines are externally dictated. We also have our own internally dictated deadlines, as we set goals and plans in place.

So many times I hear someone say, “I just want to get this over with”, or “I don’t have time. I have to get this done.”

And I see a stressed, harried, unhappy soul, struggling to get something done, with no pleasure in the DO-ing.

Now I’ll admit: some jobs are not exactly a ride-on-the-roller-coaster fun to do. They might be mundane, repetitive (think Groundhog Day), unpleasant or unrewarding, but they need to get “done”.

That’s a bit different than what I’m talking about.

What I’m really referring to is a capacity to see the finish line, envision the final result, navigate toward the outcome WHILE being present in the process.

How many times have you:

Encountered someone who speaks only of what remains to be done, but not what’s been accomplished. They are on a massive, closed-loop to-do list (and you know what I think about those. To-do lists never get tuh-dun)…

Heard someone say how much they hate “their job”, don’t have enough hours in the day, don’t know how they’ll ever get ahead…

Watched someone absorbed in their technology while in the presence of other human beings…

…all the while, never really present…unaware of their posture, their breath, the fact that they haven’t eaten since morning, oblivious to the sunshine (or rain or sleet or snow) outside, focusing all attention on “getting it done” without really asking themselves “Do I want to do it?” Is this important? What IS important? Am I enjoying the ride and the scenery?

Now some of you might think I look at the world through rose-coloured glasses. And maybe I do. But I like that view just fine. It’s what makes the end result even sweeter, to be present in the process, not just the product.

And even more fundamentally…do we soul-search sufficiently to answer the question: Do I truly want to do this because it’s part of my passion, my bliss, my path and my purpose (yes, even some of that mundane stuff) or am I doing it just to get it over with, like a necessary evil.

Today, I encourage you to:

Sit back, close your eyes, breathe deeply for a few moments and smile. Just smile.

Be present in the moment, and be a master of those moments. When work or duty feels like it’s running you, rather than the reverse, STOP…press PAUSE . Walk away from your desk, take a moment to look outside, stretch your legs, have a snack, make a cup of tea, talk with someone, read a page of a book. There is time. Really.

Abandon multi-tasking and practice what I call “sequential uni-tasking.” Move effectively and efficiently from one thing to another, being present in each thing you’re doing in that moment. See, hear, smell, experience what’s going on around you. Lift your eyes from your work and your butt from your chair. You will be elevated in more ways than the obvious.

Are you doing things to get them done? Or do you really want to do them…food for thought.





  • The JackB

    When I feel most powerful is when the words flow from fingertips and I am so engrossed in writing that I see nothing but images of words and phrases inside my head. That is when it sounds like music to me and I feel nothing but pleasure doing it.

    But there are moments of discord when I hear something that sounds like nails on a chalkboard and I can’t seem to concentrate on anything because that horrid noise drowns everything else out.

    I suppose that is the double edged sword of great focus because when mine is on I block out everything. Kind of interesting to see how the happy version blocks out everything yet absorbs all sorts of interesting details around him.

    Don’t know if that makes sense. Might have to come back in the morning and rework it.

    • Kaarina Dillabough

       No rework necessary @TheJackB:disqus . Being in the moment; being present in the process can feel different for each of us. The distinction is…are we doing the work merely to get it done, or are we truly experiencing it. You experience your writing every day, I know. And I relate to the sheer pleasure of writing that flows like water from a wellspring.

      Those nails on the chalkboard? Sometimes it’s that little nagging shoulda-woulda-coulda voice inside. Sometimes it’s external “interruptions” that we don’t want to pay attention to, but should. Sometimes it’s a wake-up call. Sometimes and alarm. Sometimes just noise.

      Enjoy the journey every day my friend. Cheers! Kaarina

  • Jen Olney

    I tend to lose my focus when I allow other forces to take control of the process, rather than keeping to my priorities and on track to what I see as a the finish line. We cannot control anything, but we should step back and regroup when the pressures of outside forces come to play. I’m best when I focus on my purpose and keep myself steady with being in the moment of the process to bring it to life. Thanks, Kaarina

    • Kaarina Dillabough

      Stepping back to regain perspective is a wise choice @twitter-121085582:disqus . External forces can certainly come into play, but it’s how we deal with them that’s important. Are they distractions, disturbances, emergencies (probably not), nuisances or helpful? Being in the moment and truly present means we can deal with those things much more easily, as we “sequentially uni-task” our way along. Cheers! Kaarina

  • Hajra

    Hey Kaarina! 

    Looks like I made my way early here today!

    I am reading this while having around five things unchecked on my to – do list. Yes, I do. But then after reading I checked and smiled at myself for the 4 checked ones! Actually I had a day off today so I actually took the day off; no computer, no nothing. I felt I was doing things just to get it done, to finish it off and that reflected in the quality of work. 

    I do want to enjoy the journey but sometimes with so many things that needs to be done, I feel I compromise on certain things. Now these things may not be huge but they matter. I might be the black sheep of the discussion but I feel sometimes it is all right for me to just get things done. Not always, but yes, sometimes. And though the little guilt will be inside of me somewhere that I did something just for doing it, I think I would keep the bigger picture in mind. I am human, and not always can I give my 100 percent and enjoy every little task, sometimes it is okay for me to be a little off track. 

    Having said that, I believe we need to set priorities. What tasks are important and need to be attended and what tasks need to done. For me, there is a difference between tasks being attended to and done and tasks being done. Sometimes it might be okay for me to overlook the enriching experience that a potential task might have but sometime I want to savor each moment of the process! :)

    I hope I make sense!

    • Kaarina Dillabough

       Total sense @hajrak:disqus . I agree. There are some things that simply need to “get done”, especially the more mundane or perhaps less-than-inspiring ones. So yes…sometimes getting something done can take priority.

      But as that “something getting done” is being done, I still advocate presence. It might not be an enjoyable task, but by being truly present, the results are usually not compromised, as you mentioned. When our mind is on the fifty gazillion other things  “to be done”, when we’re attempting to do several things at once (doing the task to get it done while eating at our desk and responding to emails…hmmm…), then the result will usually not be our best effort.

      To be fully in the experience means our attentiveness, focus and effort is directed in a way that usually results in results. Cheers! Kaarina

  • Howie at Sky Pulse Media

    This is an interesting discussion because it relates to some strategy meetings I will be having today. My friend does web work and wants me doing her clients marketing especially social media. I have one client I run twitter/facebook/etc and I am the community manager etc. But I don’t feel it is as genuine as when the business handles social themselves vs outsourcing. She thinks we should take that business. I prefer training and remaining a consultant/teacher/strategy role. My pitch is Social should be the ride. She feels it is a get it done issue.

    • Kaarina Dillabough

       That’s a great example and distinction @howieatskypulsemedia:disqus : “My pitch is Social should be the ride. She feels it is a get it done issue.”

      How will you handle it? Will you take the business? I’m wondering if you might be encouraging your approach…remaining in the consultant/teacher/strategy role, or “doing her clients marketing”. (I won’t even tell you how many times I had to read that sentence. I will leave to your imagination.)

      How this all evolves could make a great blog post. Perhaps a Guest Blog Post here Howie? Cheers! Kaarina

    • Howie at Sky Pulse Media

      btw came here from …drum role…G+ applause for the Google!

      • Kaarina Dillabough

         Awesome feedback. I tabbed your “Why do we call it Social Media” from G+ to read next. Encore applause for the Google!

  • Bill Dorman

    Uhhhh, I think I just want to show up; I’m ok with giving someone else credit for getting it done………

    I do try to enjoy the journey because when you reach the end, you will need another journey to embark on. There are days my job sucks a root, but I really do think I have the best job ever. Almost every encounter is unique and you never know what you might be the ‘event’ of the day. 

    Sequential uni-tasking; is that like a unibrow or more Ted Kaczynskiish uni-bomber  kind of thing.
    Have a great day!

    • Kaarina Dillabough

       Where DO you come up with this stuff @twitter-34985693:disqus ? I thought I’d need a primer on the correlation between sequential uni-tasking and your photos until…doh…I made the connection. But I shall unequivocally state…NO correlation, haha!

      Have a great day yourself. I was ringing your doorbell, but you didn’t answer (see comment on your blog post today:) Cheers! Kaarina

      • Bill Dorman

        I’m not sick, but I’m not well………..see how easy I turn something intelligent and relevant to something you just want to scratch your head over? 

        • Kaarina Dillabough

           You just have a knack, my friend:)

  • Life, for instance

    Hi Kaarina,
    “Sequential uni-tasking” eh? 😉 It sounds like a great idea. I’m just not sure I can do it well! I’m one of those who tends to rush through the moment, but I’m working on it, especially lately!
    Thanks for the link to psychology today. Yikes – one could get lost down that labyrinth of links!
    I think the luckiest person is the one who wants to do what she/he does and KNOWS it! Food for thought -thanks!

    • Kaarina Dillabough

       @twitter-228904159:disqus , the more you practice sequential uni-tasking, the more proficient and productive you become:) Sing along with me…”slow down, you move too fast. You gotta make the morning last

  • Shonali Burke

    I’m trying more and more to be present in the moment. It’s not always easy, because my  mind tends to race ahead, but when I am able to do this, not only do I get more done, I feel more satisfied as well.

    • Kaarina Dillabough

       Be present. Slow down. Pause occasionally. Revel in the moment @Shonali:disqus . And click the link in my reply to @twitter-228904159:disqus below to Feel Groovy:)

  • Elena Patrice

    Now my friend
    … THIS is a post I can most certainly relate to AND appreciate! I sadly admit
    to so much time passing and not living in the present but always looking
    towards the future. Honestly, I had mastered that and then life dealt me a
    hard, sobering blow. No longer would I look towards the future – I was
    struggling to look at just the day I was in. I’ve been rebuilding the last two
    years and I’m almost fearful to put merit in my pot of gold and even look down
    the road. I don’t know if it’s like a punishment that I don’t think I’m done
    with yet or what. It’s a challenge to balance this and I have the utmost
    admiration and respect for those who can.

    Just recently,
    like less than a month recently, I took inventory and have been spending the
    last few weeks stripping away a lot of the extra and totally limiting my
    multi-tasking abilities – talk about liberating (even my child has noticed!!).
    I think my issue is as a single parent with no child support or any other
    income. I’m hard on myself because of the load and want to be sure to do the
    best by my child; however, I get sad at times as to the speed of which I travel
    because much has been missed. Luckily, I’ve been fortunate to be at home and
    not in an office, commuting somewhere. But … my work doesn’t have a time clock
    – it’s something I really have to discipline myself to do and not fear that
    things will suffer from it. It’s a tormented cycle for me that I struggle with

    You’re a
    peaceful presence in my life Kaarina and funny, but you don’t know it, but  you
    actually have a very positive, grounded effect on me through your writing, your
    photos, your updates and your great sense of humor. For this I great, greatly
    thank you! I learn every day … a constant work in progress. 😉

    Peace to you


    • Kaarina Dillabough

       @ElenaPatrice:disqus , you could do me no greater honour than by those words. To be a “peaceful presence” in someone’s life, to contribute to your learning and your joy…well, that means I’m living my mission and my purpose. Thank you my friend:)

      Being hard on oneself is an “occupational hazard” of being a working parent, especially a single working parent, and without trying to be sexist, a female single working parent. I’ve not experienced that, but I do know what it’s like to raise children and be in business for oneself. I’m blessed to have a husband who has been a support and a rock, so I can only imagine the added challenge of being on one’s own.

      We are all a work in progress, and as long as we remember that, we can continue to move forward and abandon the guilt and fear along the way.

      Let go of what has come and gone: embrace what each moment of the day provides…a chance to do things differently and better, each and every day. Peace, love, gratitude and hugs, Kaarina

      • Elena Patrice

        Well I only speak the truth – that’s for sure!

        I fall, I get up, I fall, I get up …

        P.S. – I just wish I could remain “up” a little long before falling again. 😉

        • Kaarina Dillabough

           I’m sending cyber helium balloons and helpful hoisting hands your way:)

          • Elena Patrice

            xo! :)

  • Jayme Soulati

    Nice. #ThatIsAll

    • Kaarina Dillabough

       Thanks. #ThatIsAll. Except, of course…Happy Birthday @twitter-22830278:disqus !!!

    • Kaarina Dillabough

       Thanks. #ThatIsAll. Except, of course…Happy Birthday @twitter-22830278:disqus !!!

    • Bill Dorman

      Happy birthday Jayme. You rock hot BTW…..

  • Jayme Soulati

    Nice. #ThatIsAll

  • Erica Allison

    I tend to push pause every time I stop by and read one of these awesome posts, Kaarina! Seriously. I just wrapped up a 4.5 hour strategic planning session with a new client – end result is a list of marketing strategies and priorities for their 2012-2103 business year. Whew! Talk about needing a break! I’m pooped. Rather than force myself to focus on the ‘to – do’ (I know, I know), I instead took a break, grabbed a wrap and decided I’d get caught up on blogs, commenting and friends. I need those breaks from time to time.

    Re: focusing on being present and getting things done…I’m doing more of that lately. Really appreciating the task at hand, rather than rushing through it. I get much better results that way and especially do if I focus only on that one task. It’s tough, but I’m working on it!  Thanks, as always for the reminders.

    • Kaarina Dillabough

       Delighted to provide a reminder @47d58be98d1441a276245024c9457dbf:disqus , and good for you to press pause:) Strategic planning sessions require lots of attention, energy and creativity, so good for you to take a break, eat some food (wraps…yum) and do a little socializing. So happy to see you here:) And yes…results are always better when we focus on the task at hand, fully immersed, without being sidetracked or allowing mental chatter to consume us. Cheers! Kaarina

  • Barbara Klein

    Ah, the rainbow, I love it! And if I read you rightly: go through your business day with the inquisitive mind of a puppy dog, they will never sit still for 5 minutes and are happy for every new trick learned whilst thinking it is just for fun …
    Great post, Kaarina, thanks!

    • Kaarina Dillabough

       Glad you enjoyed it, and the rainbow @BarbaraKlein:disqus :) And although I think we can probably sit for more than 5 minutes, I advocate no more than 30 – 40 minutes at any one given time before standing up for a stretch or going for a little walk.

      I keep a kettleball in my office and do 15 or 20 swings with it, and either do a quick little walk or run up and down stairs. Takes less than a minute and recharges beautifully. (I just have to be sure I’m in clear space when I start swinging, haha!) Cheers! Kaarina

  • Mark Harai

    I really want to do most of the things I do in my life and enjoy them exceedingly; although admittedly, fiddlin’ with tech stuff drives me up a wall.  I just want it done. Over.

    Hmm, I made it a goal this year to learn some of this tech stuff, so although it can be painful for me, I’ve actually learned quite a bit so far 😮

    Cheers Kaarina!

    • Kaarina Dillabough

       Bravo to you @markharai:disqus . I’m not very tech savvy, and tend to agree: when there’s a problem, I like a (quick) solution:) Always great to see you here Mark. Cheers! Kaarina

  • Jonathan Gaurano

    Kaarina. My girlfriend and other people always say, “Jonathan, just focus on the present.” And, it’s not like I want to get the project done, I just want to be affirmed (through stats) that I’m succeeding. I do enjoy the ride, however, I’m always wondering if the ride is ‘taking’ me anywhere. 

    In addition, I try to muli-task way too much. I’ll try this un-tasking you’re talking about. I’m not saying I’m going to change right away, but give me a few weeks – and I’ll see where it leads me. For now, I’m committed to now and this comment. A comment that I’m appreciating very much –  and clicking ‘post’ now.

    • Kaarina Dillabough

       Very wise approach @jonathangaurano:disqus : “For now, I’m committed to now and this comment.” What a great step in the right direction!

      As a former Olympic level athletic coach, I can only say that when athletes stay focused only on the end result (the gold medal), their chances of success are slim, because they need to focus each and every day on the tasks at hand. And that’s no different for anyone looking to achieve a goal. “See” the finish line but “focus” on the moment. Thanks for clicking post now…I like your comment. Cheers! Kaarina

  • Alan Young

    Kaarina, you have reminded me of my Scottish grandmother’s reaction when I said that I wished that I was finished with school.  She responded sharply “Don’t go wishing your life away”.  That must have been around 50 years ago, but it still comes back to me from time to time.   Thanks for the comments above which provide additional perspective on the same theme, and excellent food for thought.

    • Kaarina Dillabough

       You have one wise grandmother @643f51eb1f3350d10a3c071911ffde2f:disqus :) Wishing for and living in the future wastes each moment in the present.

      What’s the John Lennon quote?

      “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.”

      To living each moment. Cheers! Kaarina

  • Jacob Yount

    Being aware of our surroundings;  included in this wonderful blog and thought pattern you’ve sent out Kaarina, is not only being aware of surroundings, but people.  Their reaction, their current status, should we stop talking about self and ask them if they need help. 

    The people you mentioned above (and we’ve all been part of that category) also tend to forget others.  This post was a good multi-level reminder.  Enjoy what you’re doing, whether it’s sweeping the floor or closing a deal.  Do all things well and with satisfaction of fine results.

    I love stopping by this blog.  

    • Kaarina Dillabough

       @jacobyount:disqus , so great to see you here, and I’m delighted that you like stopping by.

      I agree that doing things well, and being “present” in the doing brings great satisfaction in the results. I love this little parable as example:

      Once there were 3 bricklayers. Each one of them was asked what they were doing.

      The first man answered gruffly, “I’m laying bricks.”

      The second man replied, “I’m putting up a wall.”

      The third man said enthusiastically and with pride, “I’m building a cathedral.”

      I like to think of all I do as “building cathedrals”. Cheers! Kaarina

  • T. Shakirah Dawud

    Oh, my. I swear I hadn’t read your post yet (shame on me, it’s been two days!) but I wrote something similar yesterday, regarding blogging. People tend to do certain tasks thinking just having it done is all that matters, when in certain cases–and blogging is one of them–it takes more than that, it takes a “presence,” as you say.

    • Kaarina Dillabough

       Well, @twitter-59802772:disqus , that’s simply a great reminder for me to get my butt over to your blog and read your post. There are many synchronicities in life! Cheers! Kaarina

  • Jens P. Berget

    Hi Kaarina,

    I’m currently working with my first client, and what you said is exactly what I’m trying to accomplish. I want to teach them what I’m doing while I’m doing it, and that’s mostly because they seems to be so eager to understand and learn from me. They’re not just looking for the results, and to see some numbers, they want me to tell them a story and they want to be along for the journey. 

    But, at the same time, I understand that it’s important to focus. And what I’m trying to do is to have one goal in mind at all times. For instance, now it’s Twitter. We talk about twitter, I’m doing everything I can in order to learn them how to use Twitter, even though I’m the one handling their account right now. Next time, we’ll be focusing on Facebook or something completely different. 

    With only focusing on one goal at the time, and an end goal in mind, I feel that we understand what we’re doing and that we’re heading in the right direction. 

    • Kaarina Dillabough

       Very wise, @berget:disqus to assist people to understand the big picture/strategic view, and how the puzzle pieces fit together, but to deal with one piece of the puzzle at a time. When people try to do everything at once, they just get frustrated and disillusioned.

      And as adults, we’re experiential learners: we learn by doing. So the more your clients are engaged in the process, even if they won’t be the ones actually doing it in the end, the more confident and empowered they are.

      One step at a time, one day at a time…a good way to journey together. Congratulations on your first client:) Cheers! Kaarina

  • Nikolas Allen

    Hello Kaarina, Interesting that I interpreted the title of your post in a different way: While consulting with clients, I offer the option to train THEM to maintain their new websites, email marketing or social media platforms, or to hire ME for ongoing maintenance. Many of them think they want the training (and I love to empower clients), but they often end up not having the proper time to devote to regular maintenance on their own – which decreases the effectiveness of their efforts.

    However, with your title in mind, I believe I will emphasize upfront, as a qualifier, your question to future prospects: “Do you want it done (for you), or do YOU want to do it?” Then detail the pros and cons of each option.

    As for what your post was REALLY about – Thank you for a fabulous reminder to stay present and experience the Zen of Doing as we go about our day. A crucial practice in our hyper-connected, high-octane existence.

    • Kaarina Dillabough

       Hello @nikolasallen:disqus :) Delighted to see you here, and I look forward to learning more about you and your work. I just signed up by email for your newsletter and updates, and will be heading over to your blog to start participating in your community too!

      I like the fact that you found your own interpretation of the title, and saw the value in what the post was really about. But I don’t disagree…I also agree that we, as service providers, DO provide the “getting it done” when the client has neither the time nor inclination to do it. Regardless, it’s the journey that should be enjoyed.

      Thanks so much for dropping by and commenting: I appreciate that:) Cheers! Kaarina

  • Mark Harai

    There’s much to be thankful for today; sometimes you’ll forget if you don’t just stop and be thankful… often : )

    • Kaarina Dillabough

      I’m with you :)