A Productophile’s First Love: Minimalism
Productophile is just a fun-term I invented to refer to people like me who love productivity hacks
Most of you might have come across this term. If not in blogs or books, then definitely in some YouTube videos. Minimalism talks about owning fewer possessions and decluttering the rest to help remove distractions caused by the excess possessions. It’s not cleaning your desk, it’s decluttering the desk. It is intentional rather than habitual.
Well, you may ask why is it necessary? Ever heard of the Hick’s Law? Hick’s Law or the Hick-Hyman Law (named after the British and American psychologists) says that:
The Time it takes to make a decision increases with the number and complexity of choices
The phrase ‘Variety kills Choice’ better explains this law. A common example always cited is: Imagine you walk into a supermarket, to buy your favorite jam. You reach the ‘bread spread’ section and find your bottle of jam among the 10 other jam flavor bottles, always present. You buy it and return home. A month later, when you go to buy jam again in the same supermarket, you find they have added new flavors of jam on the rack. So now instead of 10, there are about 25 types of jam. Though you know which jam you want to buy, you can’t help but go through all at least once to see if there is a new flavor that might interest you. Merely going through all these choices, kill 10 minutes of your time. At the end, you buy the same old flavored jam you bought a month back and return home.
Now some may believe that variety is not always bad. It opens your eyes to new horizons (and tastes, in case of jams). That’s true. But it is very essential that after you have a look at the variety, you choose the one that you consider needful. This reduces distress caused by the mere options of choices and doesn’t hamper your decision making. It is important to declutter.
A corollary of the Hick’s law would say that:
Higher the complexity of the task, the more time you take to complete it.
And ultimately, this is what you would never want if you want to be more productive. Fiddling around with complex tasks till dawn. Quicker decisions, as to what to eat during breakfast, which clothes to wear to college, which pen to use for writing an essay, which TV show to watch at dinner, etc can be made easily by simply eliminating the choices and keeping the options that matter the most.
Takeaway: Minimalism connects well with Hick’s Law. By eliminating choices, you can be less distressed by the options and focus on the ones that matter the most.