Notes from a Floating Life Thoughts about productivity, digital living, and leading a simpler life

Do I Really Need To?

All of us, at one time or another, feel the need to jump on the latest bandwagon or to follow the latest trend. It could be using the trendy new software or web app or social network. It could be learning to code or studying another language. It could be buying that new gadget or device. It could be taking part in the newest fitness craze.

But how many actually stick with any of that once the initial glow and excitement wears off? Hard to say, but I’d guess not many.

While you might be experiencing something new, you’re also wasting time and energy pursuing something that you wind up dropping after a few days or weeks.

You could save yourself a lot of time, energy, and hassle by asking yourself a simple question before you jump into something. That question?

Do I really need to?

If you can’t immediately answer that question, chances are you don’t.

Take a friend of mine, for example. He aspires to be a writer. But he also has a major tool fetish. He’s jumped from one writing tool to the next —from Google Drive to Typerighter to Draft to Quip to Writer. Why? With each new tool he tried, he was convinced that he’d achieve writing nirvana (his words, not mine) and become more a more productive writer.

He didn’t.

Instead, my friend found himself back using Google Drive. He’s more productive with it than with any other tool. And he’s spending more time writing than jumping from tool to tool.

And if say that you need to do something, you also need to be able to explain why. Not just half-hearted justifications — like Everyone’s doing it or It’s new and fresh or It’s better than x — but well-thought out reasons. Reasons that you form with deep thinking and by doing research. Once you start digging deeper, you might find that you don’t need to change, that you don’t need to jump on the latest bandwagon.

You can save yourself a lot of time, energy, and grief by asking the question Do I really need to? The question is simple, but the answer that you come up with can be profound.

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