Finding the perfect workflow


A report on The Atlantic into how the paradox of choice may be a myth has got people flustered. This indefatigable tenet of consumerism and modern life, that has been held so highly aloft, is coming crashing down because the studies that prompted its creation cannot be replicated.

Perhaps in some areas this may be true, perhaps humans have become immune to oversupply and variety, especially in a retail environment; being able to compare specifications and prices is an absolute must. As the piece says, single-option aversion causes its own problems because you just don't know if you're getting a good deal when presented with only one choice. This is why governments and regulatory bodies are so against the abuse of monopoly positions.

Consumers and creatives

Consumers love choice, they like to be able to vote with their feet (or their eyes or ears) but for creatives it can be a different matter altogether.

When I used to spend time making music on my PC I found that the more tools, effects and virtual instruments I had the more time I would waste trying to find that perfect sound or just the right amount of reverb for a particular section.

Stuff didn't get done. Rome burned while I fiddled with endless options.

The moment, and the flow, was lost.

When I had only one application I was forced into creativity, forced into getting the most out of what I had in front of me.

The same applies to writing.

With so many writing applications now available for the iPhone the temptation is to test them all, evaluate their functionality in the hope of finding that magical blend which makes the process painless. But, in doing so, more time is spent evaluating than actually writing so there comes a point when you have to limit yourself and go with what you've got.

It may not be the best or the most efficient but forcing yourself to work within the limitations of your tools means you just have to get on with it.

Sometimes we're lucky and we find the perfect workflow - often we have to forgo perfect for what works.

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Colin Walker Colin Walker colin@colinwalker.blog