the wisdom of finishing small things well

Man, I really really hate when I leave yesterday’s small tasks to do today.

Waking up to yesterday’s work usually means I need to tend to it before I can begin today’s work–which then makes the workload for my entire day seem overwhelming. Even dreaded.

Oh yes, I agree that sometimes that’s just the way it is. Circumstances beyond our control can limit our time or energy to complete our work on a given day. We have all had that happen.

  • babies are teething and need more “mama-time”
  • headaches increase throughout the day
  • children get sick at school and need to be picked up
  • someone in need calls for help or a supportive conversation

I’m not talking about those times.

I’m talking more about:

  • the usual
  • the ordinary
  • the routine
  • the grind

I have found there is only one way to not wake up to yesterday’s work: finish.

I have also found that there tends to be 3 key places where I get stuck when it comes to finishing the small things. I wonder if you do too.

  1. The beginning: My goodness, we are SO GOOD at finding reasons why we can’t start something that we need to get done. Oh my, I did it all this morning–doing everything–and anything–to avoid starting to write this blog post!
  2. The middle: The middle of the task is always messy and unexciting. You aren’t  starting anymore and you can’t quite see the finish line yet. In-the-middle requires a little extra grit and resolve.
  3. The end: Sometimes seeing the finish line can cause us to slow down instead of press on. Being almost done can feel a little bit like done. So we easily convince ourselves that completely finishing doesn’t really matter–at least this time.

So why is finishing the small things so important?

There are likely many answers to that question, but here’s the one that I believe is most important: it builds character.




It may show up in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones.



Everyone of our days is filled with small moments. Moments that need to be finished. Moments that build our character.

Like the other day.

I was almost done in my kitchen for the evening. I had loaded the dishwasher, put the left-overs in containers, wiped the counters, vacuumed the floors and hand-washed the remaining dishes that didn’t go in the dishwasher.

I started well. I sailed through the middle. But felt my heels digging in as I got to the finish line. All that was left to do was dry the dishes in the sink.

“Well, I’m almost done.” I reasoned to myself. “It’s good enough.”

I was ready to quit for the night.

Almost convinced, this thought ran through my head:



If I  quit in the small things, how much easier will it be to quit in the greater things.



Grabbing the tea towel, I crossed the finish line less than 5 minutes later.

Yes. It was a small victory–a small moment in my day–and one in which character was strengthen just a teeny bit more.

Are you paying attention to the daily small things?

Trying to start? In the messy middle? Near the end?

Wherever you are, do not quit!

Today is your day to finish in the small things.

Finish well.

Would love for you to join me for the BE WISE: 31 DAY PRAYER JOURNEY THROUGH PROVERBS.

Everyday for 31 days, you will receive an email from me with a devotional Bible reading from Proverbs and a prayer to pray based on the reading.

You can sign up below–or click here for more information.

I love the Lord, my family, and the work He has given me to complete. Part of that work is to influence women to wisely attend to their daily God-assignments by equipping them with biblical truth and practical skills. Trusting that what you find here will inspire you do just that!