Ronit Ray

Tinkering is a trap, and I’ve fallen for it more times than I’m willing to admit.

It’s so much fun to play around with a new window manager on Linux and spend hours and hours “optimizing” the configuration for “maximum productivity” or the “smoothest workflow”. Similarly, it’s also too easy to play around with your site’s CSS for hours and hours optimizing for some imaginary goal you’ll never reach. The problem, of course, is diminishing returns.

When you get your hands on a new tool or adopt a new technology or framework, it’s worth spending a short while getting used to it and molding it to suit your workflow. But beyond a certain point, the gains you get from playing around with it are minimal. Always Be Customizing is a favorite among my kind, because it allows you to feel like you’re working when you really are not.

I started this site to develop a writing habit. Spending 3 hours playing around with templates and styling is not writing. Similarly, spending thousands on chairs, monitors, and keyboards to enhance productivity is great, as long as you can draw a finishing line and actually start being productive with these tools.

An important distinction: I’m not advocating for closed ecosystems that don’t allow for any tinkering (looking at you, Apple and Windows). Cultivating self-restraint is much better than having your agency taken away by someone who thinks they know what you need better than you do.

I’m going to try and commit myself to working only inside my site’s content and drafts folders. If that means setting the templates and styling-related files to readonly, I might just do that. Friction makes all the difference.