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I've read a few comments on how unfinished tasks influences your performance because it makes you feel frustrated. I personally cancel a task/goal/project if I notice it can be done a better way or if it's not as important as I thought. However, I'm still concerned at which level these unfinished activities may compromise my performance in the near future.

Are there any scientific backup to support this theory?

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Possible question for skeptics.SE? –  Brian Carlton Sep 6 '11 at 22:55
    
Feel free to join the discussion on Skeptics questions on Productivity: Keep or migrate? –  Tom Wijsman Sep 8 '11 at 21:03

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GTD's approach to the issue goes more or less like this: David Allen, putting the issue the other way round, stresses that any finished task liberates an amount of energy and grants a new perspective. GTD speaks of the things one has committed to do something about as 'open loops' that we are constantly closing.

Now, this important, closing any of those 'open loops' by canceling or renegotiating them is a perfectly valid option always at hand, and very often even necessary, due to changes in our priorities, situation, etc. Until I became a GTDer, I never realized that I felt compelled to finish everything that I started, as if not doing so would be a 'failure'... but circumstances change so fast that in fact it is a good ability to acquire. Like DA puts it, "Relax - refocus".

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