The Ideal Setup

There’s this thing I like to call the “ideal setup,” where I say “I could do X if only I had this ideal way to do X.” Like, I’d write more if only I had the perfect writing environment. I’d blog more if only my blog supported offline editing and static pages and but also could be edited from Dropbox from my phone.

I get all worked up over this ideal setup in my mind that it prevents me from actually doing the thing I wanted to do in the first place (or, maybe, it’s a symptom I didn’t really want to do that thing in the first place). It’s a form of procrastination, in a sense, because I’m justifying not doing the thing by the fact that I’m somehow lacking the proper tools.

To be clear, I know that tools make a difference. Writing in a plain text editor vs writing in some kind of graphical spatial hypertext wiki (ah, my true ideal setup) is going to alter the way you think and the kind of work you will produce. A responsive, visible programming language is going to let you create vastly different programs than the invisible, text-based coding languages we blindly stumble through today, too.

But there comes a point when the difference between what you’ve got, and that ideal setup is small enough to just be slowing you down. It’s kind of like that whole “a great guitarist can be amazing even on a crappy, out of tune old acoustic found in your basement” sort of thing. But it’s also kind of like “you’d be surprised how much you can accomplish if you just got started with what you have, for now.”

In the next post, I’ll go over some of the ways I try to work around this fun little aspect of me. In the meantime, what’s your ideal setup? How do you work without it?

Speed of Light