Just Get a Pencil

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Whenever you’re faced with a task that seems
daunting or too involved or you don’t even know where to start, consider the
obvious and simple ways first. In many companies, situations get handled in
overly complicated ways out of inertia or entrenched company culture. For
individuals, solutions can be too complicated if the problem causes too much
stress; the defensive mind would rather be busy making up complicated
techniques than facing the issue head on.

And technology lovers often jump to the most complex solution because it seems
elegant and, well, beautifully complex. And it will involve lots of fiddling
around (which will be fun!). These are all examples of focusing on the solution
instead of on the problem itself.

There’s an apocryphal story about NASA spending billions to develop a pen that
would write in zero gravity situations, while the cosmonauts made do with
pencils (see the debunking here: http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/spacepen.asp).

But the morale of the story is a good one: the best tool for the job (close at
hand, simple, easy to use) is often right in front of you, right now.