The Optimization – Procrastination Trap / Video

This video reflects where I landed months ago and where I should have landed well before. While Sam is using PKM apps as an example, the principle applies across the board to the elusive search for maximum productivity and the perfect apps. I stumbled upon this video while taking a break from writing. I’m passing it along in the spirit of this post.

Having fallen into the trap of procrastination masquerading as optimizing productivity, I’m sharing this with the hope that it will encourage us to focus more on getting the work done, not on the tools for doing it. His comment, “seeking for good enough,” was encouraging because I’ve said the same thing in a prior post. I just need to follow my advice because the Optimization-Procrastination trap is an ever present temptation! :slightly_smiling_face:

This video may be an encouragement to others to avoid this trap or to climb out of it. I found it refreshing that he acknowledged that he, like many of us, have fallen into the trap.

Now, back to the writing. :slightly_smiling_face:


I came across that video a while back. Love it.

I think a lot of complex systems built in Obsidian, Notion etc are built to make the author feel smart. That’s the primary purpose for engaging in things like that. I’m guilty of it too.

“Oh, I might need this for later, where should I save it…how should I structure this kind of data, where will I look for it in the future”. When in fact, I rarely go back for half the junk I save.

And wasting time tinkering is not something I’m a stranger to.

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Sadly, I’m guilty as well. I’m getting better but I must always be on guard not to fall into that trap.

I remember when we started giving employees their first “personal computer”. For some this was the first computer they had ever used. Others had been using terminals connected to out of state mainframes. In each case productivity dropped significantly at first, but in time recovered and continued to climb.

Making changes to a workflow is always disruptive, to some extent. IMO “stick to one tool for the next six months” is good advice.


Is spending 20 minutes on that video sophisticated procrastination?

Anyway, I’ve been eliminating apps rather than adding them. Gone is TextExpander and OmniFocus may be next as Reminders and/or Calendar could suffice for me these days. And you can really do a lot with just the Apple supplied productivity apps.


That is where I’ve landed, except for the writing app I use for a book project. My only two app subscriptions are 1PW and Backblaze. I’ll eliminate 1PW as soon as I think Apple’s Keychain is sufficient. And because I am consistent with multiple external disk backups in off-site and on-site locations, I may “take my chances” and eliminate Backblaze as well.

I ran OF and Reminders in parallel until a week ago. After a thorough test, I moved back to using Reminders exclusively. The “overhead” associated with OF is not worth it for me. I’ve decided that Reminders is “good enough,” even though I must contend with the ridiculously broken email link issue.

Which means, that I cannot switch any apps for a least six months, no matter what friction I run into. :slightly_smiling_face:

Speeding it up to 1.5x is the optimization part. :rofl:


There are reasons for optimising,

  • Apps really too laggy and buggy. Evernote v10 launched four years ago is a typical example. Freeform can be laggy and battery hog even on M2 iPad Pro (if sketch in details).
  • Default. Evernote, as the early popular note taking app, has so many features and functions so that when v10 was broken we wanna find a similar one.
  • Too many voices on social media. Sometimes the most minimalist apps. Sometimes calling for plain text files to outlive companies.

I am a person who is also towards Apple apps, but not because of being a minimalist. Just because I start asking myself what I want to be and use some apps which fit me.

I am also tired of subscription. Recently I am not satisfied with the issues on Apple Notes (laggy typing my language on Mac, search…) and tried to export to Bear. Bear has more comfortable line spacing for readability. In the meantime I also considered iA Writer. After trying these two apps I found at first I was so grateful to have better apps, but couldn’t commit to one of the apps. Returning to Apple Notes doesn’t let me think I moved back to a worse situation.

Since MacOS update to 14.4, I no longer have typing issues. I will also test the sketching on Freeform on iPad.

I paid for 1Password last year, but I am not motivated to transfer my 2FA to the app from iCloud Keychain. The experience of 1Password is no better than iCloud Keychain. I made this decision because of Wall Street Journal about the theft of iPhone with passcode.

There are good reasons for optimizing, and Sam made that clear in his video. But his main point is to stick with your current workflow and apps for at least six months, then evaluate and revise if needed.

He is correct that too many of us (I’m guilty as charged) spend more time and energy than necessary and productive tweaking our systems and apps when the time could be better used doing the work. He is not arguing that we should not examine our apps and workflows; he is arguing that we should do so less frequently and accept that apps will not be perfect and will always have friction points.

I’ve been too slow to learn this lesson, but I’m almost there. :slightly_smiling_face:

As I only use Safari for my browser, dropping 1PW would seem like a “no brainer”. However I share passwords with my wife and as far as I know there is no way to do that with Keychain.

This is a great and relevant quote from Henry David Thoreau, as quoted by Jonathan Haidt in a recent The Atlantic article. Though he’s referring to young children, the quote by Thoreau is tremendously relevant for how much time we spend fiddling with our devices and apps.

In Walden, his 1854 reflection on simple living, Henry David Thoreau wrote, “The cost of a thing is the amount of … life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.” It’s an elegant formulation of what economists would later call the opportunity cost of any choice–all of the things you can no longer do with your money and time once you’ve committed them to something else. So it’s important that we grasp just how much of a young person’s day is now taken up by their devices.

Actually keychain allowed for family sharing of passwords since iOS 17.

Sorry screenshot is in german.
Haven’t tried this feature as we are currently settled in 1PW

Just thinking aloud and trying to figure out what’s best (and simple enough) for me and my wife. Can you make text copies of your passwords or use 1password then sit with her and open whatever she needs to access, paste in the password and have her keychain learn the passwords? Trying to learn from you. :grinning:

It will be easier for me to drop 1PW because my wife gets confused with 1PW so I’m the only user. :slightly_smiling_face:

That’s the PostIt Notes on the screen approach. Traditional approach but not secure.

Interesting thought, but JensV pointed out that family sharing of passwords is now a feature in iOS (and macOS, iPadOS) so no need. Here is the macOS screenshot:

I’ll have to try this out!

Sorry, I didn’t mean the PostIt Notes approach. Just a temporary text file until they could be pasted into her keychain. And I completed missed about family sharing. Thanks @JensV

If you try sharing please post your experiences. Thank you. :grinning:

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Having a non-tech spouse is a blessing. Since information systems are often more valuable when you can share them with your partner they are also serve as a good gauge for the optimisation-procrastination. To see whether I need a new solution, I imagine myself presenting it to her. If she would be impressed by my argument for us to change tools, I might consider changing the tool. Mostly, she would not :sweat_smile: .

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This also works when I’m tempted to buy a new car! :joy:

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I can imagine. I am not much a of a car person, so that is not problematic. Although I admire the craftsmanship of many cars.

My weakness is electronics and software (unsurprisingly :sweat_smile:).

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My weaknesses are chips and cars. One time I bought a new BMW without discussing it with my wife first. I won’t do that again. :slightly_smiling_face: