Avoiding Fiddly.

All my life I have been one that wants to press buttons. I’m not talking about pushing buttons to get people going, but rather buttons on equipment, i.e. computers and the like. I always want to know what the button does. There’s a part of me that’s surprised I never pulled a fire alarm in school, especially in elementary school, where a little hammer on a swing broke a piece of glass that then pushed a button behind the glass.

My amusement at pressing buttons led me to technology and to this day I love fiddling with buttons, physical and virtual, in the technology space. At times this can lead to a decrease in productivity. Instead of using an application to get things done, I spend the vast majority of my bandwidth playing with all the bells and whistles in an application to try to get things to a point of where I can get things done. This approach is not overly productive and as I get older, my desire to be ‘fiddly’ remains, but my recognition of this trait is accepted and I modify my workflows to avoid ‘fiddly’ situations.

Narrowing my focus to a specific set of applications and earnestly fighting the urge to try other applications keeps my employer happy.

Unfortunately, Microsoft is constantly releasing upgrades and updates to their products and the work desktop services team dutifully pushes these changes to our company laptops. Hardly a few days go by when I’m not being prompted with pop-up ads to “try this new things in Teams!” or “you can collaborate with friends in the web version of PowerPoint!”. These pop-up ads, coupled with the constant barrage of Teams messages from folks ignoring my “Busy” status tends to make my to-do list longer than it needs to be.

For a couple of years I’ve been using an application called Obsidian to manage my notes, lists, and other general writing adventures. Productivity gurus far and wide have been touting the virtues of Obsidian for years but I have never been completely happy with the experience. The interface resembles nothing on any platform it’s available on. The syncing service is great, albeit a separate subscription. But my downfall with the application is that it is so customizable that I end up customizing the experience more than actually writing or making lists or taking notes.

While theming an application to my liking is pleasing, it’s not productive for a fiddly guy like me.

So I’m trying out new applications that aren’t as fiddly for this purpose. Before Evernote went completely catawampus a decade or so ago, I was content with Evernote. OneNote at work is alright for work stuff and that’s probably where I’ll land at work.

At the moment I’m looking at Craft. Right now it looks promising, especially when it comes to the user interface. Plus, there’s a web version which makes it accessible across platforms, something very important to me.

If I’m not fiddling around with it too much by month’s end I’ll probably write a blog post about the experience.