Is there such a thing as over-automation?
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I have been thinking about introducing more friction into my life recently. I find that I have automated too many things and that I am not dedicating enough time to them. Additionally, I have found myself juggling too many tasks at once because of the extra time that automation has given me. There is nothing inherently wrong with automation; in fact, a significant part of my work involves automating tasks. However, I believe that we should be cautious about automating everything and recognize the value of investing time and effort into certain tasks.
I think automation makes me lazy because it removes the need for me to engage with tasks. For example, when I automated the export of my Kindle highlights to my note-taking system, I stopped reviewing my highlights, rendering the process useless. The reason I highlighted my Kindle books was to remember them better, but without reviewing the highlights, the effort was wasted.
Automation promises us speed and efficiency by taking over tasks, but we must remember that we can't skip the work entirely. In my case, the extra free time I gained through automation made me feel like I should be taking on more tasks, which soon overwhelmed me. It was nice having my Kindle highlights automatically exported but having a pile of kindle highlights without my review wasn't going to help me better understand and remember the books I have read.
The solution is quite simple: stop the automation and manually review and export the highlights. Even though this will require more work and planning, it will help me to take the time to learn and remember the book.
With the release of ChatGPT, it is even more important to recognize that we cannot skip the hard work of learning and remembering. Automation and AI are powerful tools that can speed up our work, but they do not replace the need for effort and dedication.
Perhaps there are areas of your life that could benefit from adding some friction. I, for one, am going to examine other areas of my life that require my attention but have been automated and therefore overlooked.
Thanks for reading.
Have a great weekend