Dopamine Stacking

The hidden wisdom in trying new tools and systems

Simone Hutsch / Unsplash

Most productivity nerds have a love/hate relationship with our need to try new tools and systems. Our default is to fight against this urge.

We watch ourselves lusting after a new todo list app or a productivity course that says, “NO! STOP! BAD BRAIN!” 

We ask ourselves, “Why aren’t I normal? Why do I have to switch all the time?” We feel like if we were just better people we could marry Todoist for life and never look at a shiny new tool again. 

Our usual response is to try to buckle down: to resist the urge to start over, and really try to commit to one system. And sometimes, this is the right move. 

But what if sometimes it’s not? What if there’s a hidden wisdom in our desire to try new things? 

.   .   .

Here’s the pattern: 

We’re feeling unproductive. So we start researching a new tool. We find Things 3, and thus begins the lust. We consider, we compare, we imagine ourselves using it. We say FINALLY, this is the thing that’s going to fix my productivity. This is the thing that’s going to make all of the difference. 

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