The new app trap

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New app comes out. Boom. Want it. No, NEED it. Got­ta have it. Price? Doesn’t mat­ter. How have I ever lived with­out this?

New apps are con­stant­ly being released. It can be over­whelm­ing to track what’s out there. Whether it’s for your smart phone or com­put­er, there’s always some­thing new and updat­ed with improve­ments and fea­tures to make our lives sup­pos­ed­ly bet­ter. So, I won­der: do you ever feel your cur­rent set­up isn’t good enough?

This hap­pens to me ALL THE TIME. And it’s my own fault. I pur­pose­ful­ly stay up-to-date with new stuff. I peruse the App Store every week for any­thing trend­ing or note­wor­thy. I want the best tools and don’t want to fall behind the pack.

I fell in the trap — have you?

Here’s what hap­pened to me recent­ly: I down­loaded the app “Todoist,” which is GREAT for track­ing your lists and due dates. It is beau­ti­ful and has lots of great fea­tures. I quick­ly got it on all my devices and trans­ferred over my projects.

But like most things that seem great at first, I dis­cov­ered its lim­i­ta­tions and flaws. It was only a mat­ter of time.

Before Todoist, I used Omni­Fo­cus, then I switched to Nozbe, both were great. Both had flaws.

Learn­ing Nozbe and Todoist was FUN. But I could have focused on the things to actu­al­ly DO on my list instead of focus­ing on the TOOL itself.

My friend Greg calls this the Wind­shield Syn­drome. We some­times obsess over a THING that’s sup­posed to be trans­par­ent, instead of enjoy­ing the won­der of what’s beyond. Imag­ine you’re in your car on a sum­mer evening look­ing at an incred­i­ble star­ry sky and full moon. No one talks about the wind­shield. We’re too inter­est­ed in what we’re see­ing.

Yet, too often, I find myself spend­ing too much time pur­chas­ing windshields—various apps, plu­g­ins, wid­gets, and etc—instead of get­ting to work.Too often, I talk more about the TOOL required to do the work, instead of the work that needs to be done.

So here’s my advice to myself and any­one feel­ing tempt­ed to use a new app:

1. Accept the fact that ALL apps have flaws, even if you can’t see them yet

It is inevitable that the new app you’re excit­ed about will, at some point, fall short. There will be a miss­ing fea­ture or weird set­ting that frus­trates you, just like your cur­rent stuff. You have already embraced these issues with your cur­rent set up, and you’re get­ting things done. You’re already ahead of the game and mak­ing things hap­pen. Don’t wor­ry about the new app. It will have its issues. Just keep work­ing.

Accept the fact that all apps have their flaws, even if you can’t see them yet.

[share­able cite=“Josh Mitchell”]It is inevitable that the new app you’re excit­ed about will fall short at some point.[/shareable]

2. Resist the temptation of “missing out”

FOMO (fear of miss­ing out) is a real thing. But JOMO (JOY of miss­ing out) is a real thing, too. You can expe­ri­ence the JOY of con­tin­u­ing to use what you already have, and get your work done, which is what pro­fes­sion­als do.

It is a joy to…

  • Get to the fin­ish line
  • Behave like a pro­fes­sion­al (see Going Pro, Steven Press­field)
  • To do mean­ing­ful work
  • Save mon­ey
  • To focus on the CONTENT, not the tool

Resist the temp­ta­tion of miss­ing out.

3. Focus on the WORK, not the TOOL

Doing work that mat­ters is hard. It takes a pro­fes­sion­al to get things done. Dis­cov­er­ing tools and test­ing them out is easy. So spend the min­i­mum time nec­es­sary get­ting your tools and then get to work.

Focus on the WORK, not the TOOL

4. It’s OK to use stuff that’s OLD

Think about all the great books, movies, pod­casts, live events, music, and oth­er accom­plish­ments that are already PUBLIC out in the world. A lot of it was COMPLETED using yesterday’s oper­at­ing sys­tem, yesterday’s soft­ware, and yesterday’s tools.

Along the way, they had issues and temp­ta­tions to use “new and improved soft­ware,” but they got it done. You can, too.

It’s OK to use stuff that’s OLD

5. Limitations cause creativity

Cre­atives often believe the sky is the lim­it. But it turns out that options often decrease pro­duc­tiv­i­ty. Accord­ing to the Broth­ers Heath, Austin Kleon, and cog­ni­tive research, more options make peo­ple less like­ly to choose. New soft­ware fea­tures will not expand your cre­ativ­i­ty, it may ruin it.

Work­ing what what you have means you might have to get cre­ative, which is a good thing. Remem­ber that Lim­i­ta­tions CAUSE cre­ativ­i­ty.

6. If you get a new app, learn it strategically and QUICKLY

If you do go ahead and pur­chase that new piece of soft­ware, learn it quick­ly. M

Find specific blocks of time to watch tutorials or take a course 

Most robust pieces of soft­ware have some kind of course or detailed tuto­ri­als avail­able. Do a Google search and see what you find, but don’t dive in right away. First, block off a week­end, a few week­nights, or wake up ear­ly to specif­i­cal­ly LEARN the soft­ware, so you don’t fall behind on your oth­er work.

Seri­ous­ly, put it on your cal­en­dar.

Find good courses and tutorials

You may need to PAY, for Lynda.com or anoth­er expe­ri­enced instruc­tor to walk you through the course.

Pay? Real­ly? Yes. It’s cheap­er this way. Pay­ing for the course means you will spend less time stum­bling onto new fea­tures, and more time using the fea­tures that are avail­able.

[reminder]Have you ever fall­en into the new app trap? I would love to hear about your experience.[/reminder]

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