Reading time: 426 words in approx 2.5 minutes
The latest message from a friend mentioned their lack of progress on a project to go digital.
The plan was to ditch paper documents entirely, except for stuff like passports. But they had become blocked.
When I first heard about this plan, over a video call in February 2020, 6 months ago, I sensed excitement. The scanner they crowdfunded in January had failed to ship. Now in June, I detect frustration in their ambition to declutter.
I would be frustrated too, imagining all the time in covid-19 lockdown which I could’ve channelled towards permanently retiring my boxes of archived paperwork.
As a developer, anytime I reach for a new tool, I look for the “Getting Started” guides. It’s a reflex for many in my field today. If a tool doesn’t have such a guide, it’s bad DX, and ambitious open source tools tend to prioritize creating one.
Getting Started guides solve a problem experienced by everyone, not just developers. This is the hurdle of getting stuff done with no momentum.
When one has momentum, the fresh memories of recent micro-successes doing the task at hand encourage us to take the next step. Without momentum, steps need to be easy af or you will need a lot of willpower to overcome the friction of creating your initial small wins.
All products need to recognize getting started as an area of friction that needs to be addressed, if they want to get used.
I made a suggestion, in the original story of my friend’s paperless project － instead of waiting for the device, that they just get the ball rolling using alternative tools.
Maybe the scanner creates better resolution PDFs or makes the tedious process of digitization easier using automation. But phone apps (like Office Lens and Google Drive) actually digitize quite well and are easy to acquire.
Being blocked by something outside of my control is the sort of feeling that could stifle my motivation. So when you don’t have a Getting Started guide designed to help you hit the ground running, make one up for yourself :-)
And check out a previous post about taking a walk to recharge one’s ability to pay attention!
Here’s a music track to reward you for your patience: I discovered Pink Martini a long time ago, when in university. Here’s their cover of Tempo Perdido.
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