Study Hacks on Convenience as Anti-Productivity

by billswift 1 min read22nd Jan 201216 comments


Distraction is a Symptom of a Deeper Problem: The Convenience Principle and the Destruction of American Productivity is a good article on distractions versus getting things done. With extra emphasis on how many of our distractions are the result of a desire for convenience rather than something more substantial.

Due to its ubiquity, it’s easy to see the convenience principle as self-evident. I argue that it’s actually contrived and harmful.

To understand this perspective, let’s contrast it to an alternative. The goal of any knowledge work organization (or student, which is really just a one-person knowledge work firm) is to produce information that is rare and valuable. With this in mind, consider the net value principle of selecting work habits. This principle says that the adoption of a work habit should be based solely on its net effect on the value produced by the organization.

This principle also sounds obvious, but when you dive deeper into its implications you’ll find that it often conflicts with the conclusions of the convenience principle. The reason for this conflict is that convenience often has nothing to do with value.