Inaction is a choice

Inaction is a choice

A slide from my talk, Better Living Through Design:



Roz Duffy's excellent post, Just Start Flossing, brought up a slew of emotions and thoughts for me. I was also influenced by watching the entire GTD series (with David Allen himself!) on

The theme? Just do it. Get your shit together and do it.

What gets in the way? Often, it's my brain.

My brain is an awesome tool. It's not perfect, but it has served me well for 37 years so far. But sometimes, it helps get me royally stuck. I stand on the precipice of possibility and freak right out. Or rather, my brain freaks out. It starts asking too many questions in what feels like a nanosecond. What if the other choice was better? What if I'm doing it wrong? What will I think about it? What will others think? How much will this be messed up? Will it actually be good?

That, in turn, oft seized me up. I would do nothing; or, rather, I would do something else that required a lower level of effort. Like tweeting. Or shopping. Or going down a Wikipedia rabbit hole. Or putting the dishes away. All of that stuff that never goes away. This is so low effort that I call it inaction because it's a lack of movement on the big, scary stuff.

That's why I advocate for small changes, something that is echoed in Roz's post and the GTD philosophy too. Small stuff, my brain can handle. Turn off notifications from Mail on my phone? Oh yeah. Start eating more avocado? Most definitely. Be mindful of nutrition when picking foods? Yep.

Hear me now and believe me later: inaction is a choice you make, and it is actually an action! In the parlance of design, it is akin to reviewing the research and choosing to do nothing. It is valid, yes, but it has consequences – just as other actions do. And really, it just doesn't feel the same as a concrete action does.

There is a sea of choices, possibilities, and decisions out there. It's on us whether we want to dive in or not.