Finish One Thing Before Starting Another

I can’t imagine sitting down to three or more different doughnuts and taking a bite out of one, then a bite out of another until I’ve eaten them all, back and forth, a bite here and a bite there. When I have a doughnut, I like to enjoy it, savor it and get the full flavor of it. Of course I’d enjoy all of the doughnuts if I did sample and jump back and forth, but it’s not the same as savoring one at a time. Tasks are like that too.

To really do a great job, tackle one thing at a time and finish it before you start something else. We all know the rule about “only handling email once,” by either answering it, trashing it or filing it so we don’t keep shuffling through our in-box over and over. There’s another reason for finishing one task before starting another. Life happens and we can easily get distracted if we’re working on several things at once. One will always take precedence over another at some point. We’ll leave one or more half finished to chase down and finish another. Once distracted or pulled away, a task will often go uncompleted, ultimately creating more work in the process. If you want to succeed pick a thing, start it and finish it, then move on to the next task.


“The brain is a lot like a computer. You may have several screens open on your desktop, but you’re able to think about only one at a time.” ~William Stixrud, PhD, Neuropsychologist

photo compliments of Daadi

4 thoughts on “Finish One Thing Before Starting Another”

  1. That’s right on Bob. I see this especially with books. I’ve got a pile of books I need/want to read right now – some for pleasure and some for work. I actually have friends who can be reading several books concurrently. I don’t know how they do it. Almost seems archaic in this fast paced world but I can only read one book at a time. You?

    1. I admit to not always finishing a book before picking up another. Usually though it is because I have decided I have read enough. Sorry for short response. Still in Caribbean with a sometimes Internet.

  2. Bob,
    I was just sharing with my friend, Amadou M. Sall, who introduced me to your site via this post, that your blog post reminds me of a quote from David Lloyd George “There is nothing so fatal to character as half finished tasks.”

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