The Complexity Halo

After working on a complex problem, I tend to over-complicate the next one.

I call this “The Complexity Halo”.

If you’re used to things being difficult, you assume difficulty. If you’re used to seeing problems, you see problems.

One helpful tactic is to ask specific questions about your current task. It only takes a moment and stops you from disappearing down the rabbit hole.

Here are some to get you started:

  1. What assumptions can I make about the data?
  2. Can I ignore a particular edge case?1
  3. Can I ignore a particular requirement? Is it really a requirement?
  4. What does the happy path look like? Start there; sometimes it’s enough.


  1. This is helpful when everything looks like a problem. No solution can cover every scenario. Most of the time it doesn’t matter.

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