In opposition to multitasking

       “There!” said John, surveying his work with great apparent satisfaction — “finished.”
       “What is finished?” asked Benny, “your nail- box?”
       “No,” said John; “only the two parallelopipedons for the two sides. See!”
       So saying, he handed the two pieces of wood which he had shaped to Benny to examine. They were indeed nothing but two plain pieces of wood, but they were so smooth and square and true, and they were so exactly alike when placed together either way, that it was quite a pleasure to look at them.
       “And now,” said John, “we are going to put our work away.”
   Benny was at first unwilling to do this, being still interested in his boring, and he asked John why he did not go on and finish his nail-box. But John had been recommended by Ebenezer not to work too long at a time.
       “As a general rule” said Ebenezer “you had better only undertake and finish one operation on your work at one time. Don’t think at all, while you are making a thing, of the time when you will get it done, for that will only make you impatient to see it finished; then you will hurry your work and make mistakes and do it badly; and so you will get vexed and worried, and all the pleasure will be spoiled. The best way is, when you begin to work at any time, to undertake for that day only one single operation, and take time to do that well; and when you have done it, lay by your work for that day, and go and amuse yourself with something else. Then you will not get tired and worried, and your work in the end will be much better done.”

The boys own workshop – Jacob Abbot (1866)


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