Tools for Decreasing Your Productivity

Tags: academia, research, musings

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While the mythical 10x researcher shall remain, well, mythical, there are some tools for decreasing your personal productivity, turning you into a 0.1x researcher. One of these, for me, are WYSIWYG editors, in particular Word and Google Docs. Whenever I have to use one of them, my thinking turns into molasses, and my writing dries up like some rivers do in summer.

Regardless of how often I try one of these tools, there is always one thing that annoys me: Either I forgot how to format references correctly, or I do not immediately get how to format a list. The result is always the same in that, instead of focusing on the writing as such, I am stumped, slightly furious, and debate whether it is a good use of my time to solve this problem now. It rarely is, but I attempt it anyway.

The weirdest thing is that I tried learning Word a couple of times now, but I just cannot grok it. Its processes are totally alien to me, and I feel like this piece of software was not written for me, regardless of how much I customise it. The end result is, predictably, irrational: I just continue using it haphazardly, not knowing what I am doing wrong, and praying hard for deliverance. The only upshot is that I value my personal setup so much more afterwards…

The situation is probably symmetrical for other people if they had to use my setup, but the big difference is that my setup is insufficiently famous to be the ‘industry standard.’ Until the day this changes, the world will be safe but I will have to continue my suffering every once in a while when the use of Word cannot be avoided any more.

I guess there are much worse fates.