I’m having the inside of my garage repaired and painted, a job I definitely do not want to do myself. But my painter, Paul, seems to actually enjoy the work, more than for the income it brings.

“I like painting because it provides instant gratification,” he said. “I can tell right away what I have done vs. doing electrical work where the first thing I have to do is figure out what somebody else did wrong. Painting you can see.”

I think all of us need some aspect of our work that provides tangible results. Creating a formula-driven spreadsheet. Clearing our inbox. Submitting a grant. Mowing the grass. Cooking a meal. Cleaning out a closet.

It’s fine to toil in settings that have a long-term impact as many non-profits do but to keep up the motivation and momentum, sprinkle in some short-term accomplishments. Remind yourself that you are making progress by painting the equivalent of your wall.

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