The Sabotage of “Intellectual Satisfaction”

Doing something complicated with data is intellectually satisfying. It makes you feel smart, like you’re hacking the system or outsmarting the man. But sometimes this appeal to our intellect sabotages us because it blinds us to the simpler solution that gets the job done just as well and in a tenth of the time.

A simple shift in our psychology could save us hours and hours of time every month. Instead of listening to the siren of sophisticated intellectual satisfaction, recognize it for what it is—a time sink—and opt for a more clever solution. Take a step back, ask if there is an easier, faster way that gets the job done, and go.

The way you actually hack the system is to find the simple solution. Go for elegant, not elaborate.