Specifying Problems

What problems should you not be solving right now? What problems, valid as they might be, are distracting you from solving your 1-2 most important problems, or answering your most important questions?

You have a limited amount of time and energy. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Whether it’s financial, physical, mental, social, even spiritual – sometimes you have to press pause on something good to commit to something great.


A few days ago, I had a cool idea for redesigning this site: what if the site turned on a dark theme automatically at night, or if you’re in a dark room? It doesn’t sound too difficult and would be a nice little easter egg. But after burning about 25% of my laptop battery trying to pick an interesting font color, I had the sense that that probably wasn’t a great use of resources.

When I picked up this site after almost two years of inactivity, I had two goals:

  1. Write more. I enjoy writing short posts about things I’ve been pondering, and I like having a creative outlet that’s easy to pick up every morning.
  2. Redesign something on the web. I wanted a small project where I could truly start from scratch and enjoy all the tiny details of designing a website.

Nifty as an auto dark theme would be, writing more JavaScript was not part of those two goals. And it was definitely a distraction from both of them.

A key component of minimalism is removing things from your life that steal from your core values. When we think of minimalism, we typically think about physical possessions, but it’s entirely possible for questions, problems, or ideas to be thieves as well.