Does Your Crap Work?

From Brett Kelly on Cooking With…

I just want my crap to work now.

I’m a fan of rants. I’m a fanatic of them when someone gives voice to something I’ve been having trouble verbalizing. The more I read of Brett Kelly, the more I find he has this gift. He had it when he shared how OmniFocus can make you a better person, he had it when he offered the most sensible approach to choosing a minimal writing environment and he had it again on the latest episode of Cooking With… on 70Decibels1. While Brett’s remark and his ensuing rant in the podcast refer to “betas,” those early and often buggy releases of the latest and greatest application, he hit the nail on the head for a larger issue that’s been bothering me lately.

There’s always this temptation to try something new. There’s always a temptation to fill some kind of hole. To see what else is out there or what’s new and see if it can help you improve. It’s this unending desire to try and find what it is you’re missing. The problem: you’re often not missing anything. That hole is often imaginary. It’s just an excuse to work on how you do your work rather than actually doing it.

If your crap doesn’t work, go looking. If you lack a system to accomplish your goals, take the time to find one. Last year, I needed to do this. I had to take a step back and build up a foundation upon which I could accomplish my work. If you have a system and worry it could be 2% better, do yourself a favor and stop. I’m just as tempted as the next guy to add in a new application (probably more so). I’m always tempted see if there is something better than what I’ve currently got. However, I’m finding that the 2% increase in productivity that most of these changes offer come at a loss to the 10% of my time I can easily spend obsessing about them.

As often as a new app improves things, it’s often far more likely to break them. Like Brett, I just want my crap to work. And in that, I’ve grown stubborn in adding in something new (and as I get older, I just grow more stubborn period). It’s fun to stay on top of the latest applications; unfortunately, it’s just not very productive.

Test the limits of your current system. Learn your current applications inside and out. Avoid the new in favor of improving your skills with your existing apps. If if you need someone to say it more eloquently and far more bluntly, go give the latest episode of Cooking with Brett and Myke a listen. The rant kicks in at about 31 minutes and it’s a good one!

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