It was wonderful to walk down the long flights of stairs knowing that I’d had good luck working. I always worked until I had something done and I always stopped when I knew what was going to happen next. That way I could be sure of going on the next day.
– Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast
This passage has always stuck with me. Hemingway refers specifically to writing fiction, but this applies to all work. It is an approach I try to live by.
Each day, I stop work only after I’ve accomplished something good. Before logging off for the day, when my mind is in “these are all the things I still need to do” mode, I make a to-do list for the next day and prioritize the order of tasks. That way, when I open my laptop each day, I know where to begin.