The Power of Closing Circles

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Photo Credit: YunikoStudio

Raise your hand if this sounds familiar…

You start doing the dishes and the dryer beeps. As you pile your laundry on the bed, your friend calls – she needs a number that’s on a piece of paper that’s in your car. As you’re digging under the passenger’s seat you find that earring you lost. Which goes with that dress you took to the cleaners and forgot to pick up.

40 minutes later you have half-accomplished five things and haven’t fully accomplished anything.  Unless you count feeling annoyed and depleted as accomplishing something. (Which, I’m guessing, you don’t.)

This has probably happened to all of us. It’s part of the curse of being constantly connected and trying to balance a full personal, professional, and home life.

Now, I could offer a series of tips about putting your phone in a drawer and turning off social media notifications but I also think it’s important to take responsibility for our actions and talk about the importance of personal focus and completion.

I recently started an amazing practice that has dramatically changed how I deal with the tiny distractions and little obligations of everyday life.  It motivates me to complete projects – at home or otherwise – even after I’ve been interrupted. It’s called…

 “Closing The Circle.”

What does this mean? Basically, it’s another way of phrasing your mom’s favorite saying:
“finish what you started.” But frankly… I find “Closing the Circle” to be a much more elegant, gentle and motivating way to say and think about the process completion.

You can practice Closing the Circle in nearly any area of your life. On the surface, it might look like putting the wrapping paper away, folding the laundry, clearing off your desk at the end of the day, throwing away those wilting flowers (you know you’re guilty of this too!), or dropping things off at Goodwill.

On a deeper, more heart-centered level it could look like making a decision about something you have been avoiding, having a difficult conversation with a friend, or saying no to an invitation to do something you no longer enjoy.

There are million and a half circles we can open and close in a day, a week, a month, a year, a lifetime – relationships, careers, chores we put off, projects we don’t finish.

The power of closing circles is big. Truly.

Each time we open a circle and neglect to close it, our mind is holding it somewhere. The psychological weight of all those half-finished projects and nagging should-dos add up. Who among us hasn’t felt irritable or depressed after a week of multitasking or a day when we failed to cross anything off our to-do list? When you constantly leave things unfinished, your poor brain never gets a break. It’s continually holding room for “that thing I still need to do.”

You can free up acres of emotional and mental energy

by only opening circles you can close by the end of the day.

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Implementing this new way of thinking about my to-do list has been truly transformative in my life and I am so excited to invite you to try it as well.

This week I challenge you to pay more attention to how many circles you have open at one time.

In the comments below I would love to know: 

– Does “closing the circle” change the way you relate to completing tasks and/or projects?

– Do you have any tips or tricks of your own to share?

Sending Love,
Rebecca

P.S.  If “closing circles” is particularly hard for you, you are not alone and I can help.  A little lovin and some focused support from me might be just the thing to help increase your productive and get your brain organized.  Contact me and we will get you scheduled for a Discovery Session today!

9 Comments on “The Power of Closing Circles

  1.  by  Erin @ FierceBeagle

    This is brilliant! I love how you re-frame ideas so they’re not negative, but positive. I shared this with my husband and he loved it.

    This can also be a non-stressful, non-nagging way to remind each other to finish tasks around our home: Instead of “are you ever going to x, y or z?” we can simply nudge each other with a simple, “Close the circle!”

    •  by  Rebecca McLoughlin

      I LOVE that this resonated so much for you AND your husband! What a fabulous idea to use it in in your relationship. It is so powerful to be able reframe the ways we nag each other in relationship and it can truly change the mood of a home in an instant. Thanks for sharing!

      Warmly,
      Rebecca

  2.  by  Becky Winkler

    Each time I get an email with one of your new posts, it’s like you’ve read my mind! I have been “working” on this lately, but framing it to myself as, “don’t forget to finish all the things.” Said your way, it sounds much more palatable :) It also makes finishing a task sound almost like a zen or yogic accomplishment, which I love. I’m off to finish eating some grapes!

    •  by  Rebecca McLoughlin

      Hi Becky!

      Ha! I have never thought of it that way that was but you are right… “closing circles” does have some Zen to it. Awesome! So glad the posts have been on right time for you. Enjoy you the grapes!

      Warmly,
      Rebecca

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  4.  by  Marianne

    I LOVE this! I recently started doing something that, although not so elegantly named, works in a similar way. I’m a terrible clutterbug, and although I love to be surrounded by all the tools of my trade, I do find it makes things overwhelming when I’ve got piles of books, notepaper, cards, pens, teacups, etc all over the place. A while ago, I decided that at the end of each task, I’d put whatever bits and pieces I no longer needed away before moving onto the next thing. It sounds so Captain Obvious now, but it was seriously a revelation for my workflow. I’m going to borrow your stylish incantation though and call it “closing the circle” from now on!

    •  by  Rebecca McLoughlin

      Hi Marianne! So happy that this practice and it’s new name resonates for you! And yes I can completely relate to the experience of the simplest and most obvious things being complete revelations. We have them when we need to! :-) Thanks for sharing!

  5.  by  Kim

    I am thinking about doing tbis symbolically fot clients i wirk with that have an intellectual disability and have lost a house mate, am thinking of using tea lights and mb ballons? Any suggestions? Kim

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