I love this stuff. It’s downright exhilerating to pursue betterment in all these various forms. Diet, speed-reading, excercise, personal organizers, operating system tools and tweaks, etc. — all these areas offer options for squeezing that much more out of life. The problem is, and I’m sure you guys are aware of this, the obsession with optimization can quickly become quite negative.
The way this happens reminds me of a saying I heard a long time ago that was something along the lines of, “Never let the best be the enemy of the good.” This makes complete sense, and it’s the reason things can go bad quickly for those perpetually in search of “better”.
In short, a balance must be struck between doing things vs. figuring out how to do them better, and the trick is to not be discouraged or bothered by the fact that you know there could, in some far corner of the world, exist a better way of doing whatever it is you’re doing. Getting into the mode of not doing much because you don’t want to do it inefficiently is utterly limiting.
I guess the best advice I can offer myself (and others) is to become comfortable with doing things less than perfectly. This is counter to the tendencies one has when in the GTD/Lifehacker/43 Folders mode of thought, I know, but it’s the only way to stay sane. Only then will we be able to pursue optimization in a healthy way — seperate from everyday problem solving. We essentially need to seperate doing and optimizing into two distinct phases. From my experience, trying to mix them is bound to result in an unhappy outcome.