🔎In Search for the Perfect Tool
I have to admit it: I am obsessed with tools. I love gadgets that help me write better, think better, or perform better. I adore routines, frameworks, systems, and processes that I can follow to get improved results. I enjoy anything that helps me get more clarity or efficiency in what I am doing.
But this reliance on external help is dangerous. Tools should aid our goals, but not be the goals themselves. And it's not always easy this way.
How often have you thought: "OK, I'll do this, but I need just one more tool/piece of equipment." Or, "Before I start this project, I'm gonna pick up the best tools/materials first."
This approach may even lead to analysis paralysis. It's a state when we're facing too many choices and can't make the decision anymore. Rather than starting the activity, we overthink the less important aspects (how to build), forgetting the more important ones (what to build? why build it?).
How To Start Running?
A great example is the popular activity of running. What do you need to start running?
Meet Anna, who has a tool-centric approach. Anna would begin with research to choose the best running shoes. Then, she'll think about the rest of the gear. Some warm leggings, maybe? What about the t-shirt? Oh yes, and an exercise band to count the statistics. Heck, perhaps even a GPS-equipped watch!
The problem is that this research is a project in itself. And once Anna finishes it, she may forget what the original goal was: to start running.
Maria is more practical. She gets whatever sneakers she has and goes for a short run in her area. After the first run, she schedules another one next week. And then another.
After two months, she's running twice a week and her sneakers are starting to wear out. Time to find a dedicated pair for running.
Maria focuses on creating a habit first and then bringing the tools that would help her. Anna wants to prepare for every scenario without thinking much about the activity of running itself.
Tools As a Reward
Getting perfect tools shouldn't be a primary goal. But that doesn't mean tools are useless. When you're running regularly and longer distances getting proper footwear is essential.
You don't need a beautiful yoga mat to exercise. But a beautiful yoga mat may be a reward in itself that will strengthen your exercise habit.
You don't need Roam Research or Notion to start taking notes. Both tools would make it easier to organize your notes down the road, but they're useless unless you build the note-taking habit.
Great tools help with your practice. Even more accurate: they help with your established routine. The tools alone can rarely help you start doing something.
This newsletter is advice for you, but it's also a form of therapy for me. I want to be able to get back to it the next time I catch myself deciding on whether I should use one technology over another. Or carefully planning my posts only to start doubting the plan later.
There's no place in our lives for analysis paralysis and overthinking. Better do something creative instead!