The perfect tool-organization trap

I wonder how many of us find ourselves in the trap of seeking the perfect tool, the perfect space, the perfect organizational setup to be productive? I know I do at times.

I like to be productive.

I’ve published 139 books. I did a book a month for 10 years as a book packager. I like shipping things, and shipping consistently has helped put me at the forefront of a number of big shifts in technology over the past few decades.

But being productive and being organized are not always the same thing. The trap with organizing is that it can sometimes be an excuse not to ship things.

I will often run into people who will say they need the right scenario to do their work. If they only had a better camera, or the right word processor, or a better organizational system they would begin doing the work.

But you don’t need the perfect setup to do the work.

For example, I’ve written five of my books completely on airplanes.

That is not what someone expects when they ask about my system for writing productivity. … They don’t imagine me sitting in the middle seat on an airplane typing on my laptop.

But I’ve found that you can’t wait for the perfect setup, because that will never arrive. It’s too often an excuse not to ship. …


Definitely a lot of wisdom here. I love it when I get organized, but of course when this organization comes at the expense of putting in time on the projects pending, well, that’s less good.

And perfect space for being productive? Spatial organization is my day job, and with my clients (and personal experience) in mind I am only too familiar with the conceit where thinking a better workspace would make work more productive, or a better kitchen would lead to more and better cooking.

It can be true, but it’s also not necessarily true – always just a piece of the puzzle, and seldom the key piece.

1 Like