Why Your Productivity Shouldn't Require You to Think

When I was growing up in Massachusetts I dabbled in Little League and like most kids, I was pretty average.  Afraid of a high fast ball but quick to cheer on his teammates.

When I got into pitching at around Grade 5, the coach would say things that only years later would I understand.

Don't aim the ball.  Don't think.  Just go out there and have a catch.

Ask an 11 year old what that means and they have no clue.  Ask a 37 year old and I think it now makes all the sense in the world.  When you are thinking about what you're doing, drag is being created on the system.

This is why people talk about getting into "the zone" or "in the flow".  Athletes are not the only ones who get this.  Monks do as well as their daily routines of prayer lend to pushing away distractions and zeroing in on one pure thought.

GTD enthusiasts understand dig this too.  In a LifeHacker interview with David Allen, this kind of "less drag on the system" mindset came out, "Lists must be quick to add to, and quick to review, without any more than the necessary thinking involved."

In other words, don't think unless you have to.  Whether it's in the form of pitching a baseball or choosing a productivity app, you really shouldn't have to think about it all that much.

So here is a new wrinkle in the next app you're tempted to buy: only purchase if you can figure it out within 60 seconds.  If the learning curve is too steep, you probably won't use a month later.