Yesterday I heard the siren song of switching to a new project management app, yet again. I know, I know, this is possibly the most nerdy sentence ever known to humankind but bear with me, because I think this is a universal concept.
There I was, minding my own business, when a client mentioned they’d settled on using ClickUp to manage all their projects. Now, keep in mind that this was an app suggestion I’d given to her out of several different options. Meaning, I was quite familiar with it already. It’s one of the many systems I’d explored before settling on Asana and telling myself that decision was permanent(ish)(at least for the next year). (Actually, “explored” makes the whole process sound rather prim and professional. Maybe “maniacally switched back and forth between” would be more accurately put.) But did that stop me from logging back in to ClickUp and playing around with it for an hour? Did that stop me from watching a bunch of YouTube video reviews of the best project management systems? Sadly, it did not.
You see, shiny new systems are my siren song. There are constantly new ones being released, and they’re gorgeous and highly functional and make work simpler to organize. I even have a whole list of them in The Appothecary! I love ‘exploring’ new tools, and it’s partly my job to be familiar with them, and yet…
And yet, it’s a form of procrastination to follow my siren songs. I can get so swept up in the excitement of something new that I waste time I could be using to move projects ahead or plan for the future. I can spend a lot of time moving all my notes and ideas from one system to another, and then back again, and that’s not including all the time I spend researching these different systems, watching videos about them, and so on.
The point is, it’s not productive. Fussing around with systems is a way of avoiding the real work. Or, as Austin Kleon says: “The tools matter and the tools don’t matter.” Yes, you’ll naturally outgrow some tools as you need bigger and better things. But don’t get lost in the siren song that tells you that having the right tools is the only way to get it right or get it started. That’s a lie, one that is probably preventing you from doing your most important work.
Tie yourself to the damn mast. Block your damn ears. Tell yourself, “IT’S ASANA OR NOTHING FOR THE NEXT YEAR, STEPHANIE,” and stick to it. Because yes, maybe there is a better system out there, or a better project, or a better idea, or better inspiration. Isn’t there always? But it’s our job as creators to choose the best option we have and move on. Make the thing anyways. Don’t wait til it’s perfect. Figure out the bare minimum you need to do your work, and then do it. And for all that is holy, ignore that siren song and get back to work.