We live in a time period where technology has greatly increased our productivity. This means that, on an individual basis, we can get things done much faster than before.
Thanks to the content available on the internet, we can learn faster than before.
Thanks to the extensive storage and processing capabilities of software and hardware, we can apply our learnings to quickly produce outputs from inputs.
And thanks to online communication tools like email and messaging apps, we can instantaneously relay the outputs we produce, and the decisions based on these outputs, to the people we interact with.
In other words, technology makes it easy to act fast.
However, acting fast isn’t always in our interest.
Although there is a limitless amount of content that we can learn from, our brains remain single track processors that need to recharge regularly. We therefore need to choose what to learn, and allow enough time for the learning to actually take place.
Although we have, for most practical purposes, virtually infinite storage and processing capabilities, that doesn’t mean that we should store and process everything. We need to ask the right questions based on our learnings in order to store and process data that’s likely to produce meaningful answers. We also need to cross-check the assumptions behind our answers before using these answers to drive our decisions.
And although we can instantaneously communicate the outputs we produce, and the decisions we take based on these outputs, to others, we need to take into account the fact that the recipients of these outputs and decisions are humans. Humans process information differently depending on when they receive it, both on an absolute basis (for example, the time of day or on weekdays versus weekends) and on a relative basis (for example, relative to when they expect to receive it, which is in turn influenced by the importance of the output or decision and when you last communicated). As a result, the first moment when an output or decision is available for communication isn’t necessarily the right moment for its communication.
In other words, while technology makes it easy to act fast, as a result of our humanity, there are important benefits to inaction.
Also published on Medium.