Sunday Quote – William James

“Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging of an uncompleted task.”

William James was an American philosopher and psychologist, often referred to as the “Father of American Psychology”.

This quote resonates quite vividly for me as it echoes one of the main lean principles : to get things done, reduce work in progress.Why is it so fatiguing ? My take is that until it is completely done a task uses some of your background cognitive power.

A principle also referred to as “Stop starting and start finishing or “Multitasking is the first step in multi-failing”. I sometimes feel multi-tasking could be considered as self-inflicting the Sisyphus curse : going back to an uncompleted task is somehow like having to roll the boulder all the way up the hill, again.

There is some sort of mythology about alleged millenials ability to multi-task but this is just wishful thinking. I am currently enjoying reading Brain Rules and the author John Medina makes it clear that the brain is not able to share attention on two different tasks.

On top of an expert newbie, I rate myself a rather productive person, able to achieve things. [humblebrag] As an example in 2013 : one massive project, one e-book, one new album with my band and a major change in my professional career all the while attempting to have my family not to hate me too much [/humblebrag].

This principle is my north star. I try my best not to keep tasks hanging around and to complete them before moving to something else. How about you ?

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