The masturbatory circle of workflow optimisation

And some no-nonsense reccomendations

I’ve found a common theme in setting up a college/startup workflow. While trying to find information on optimisation I’ve discovered a few communities I believed I could pull inspiration or ideas from. Primarily Discord servers and Subreddits.

One common theme is that the people seem to spend so much time on optimising their workload they get minimal work done, and as a result of their lack of work decide that they need to optimise more. Creating a loop of attempted self-improvement with a net velocity of zero. This has grown to the point where people are setting up workflows to immediately change them for the good feeling they get at the end of it. It’s purely masturbation

Now, this is pretty rich from a guy who writes a substack. I could be working now. But I’ve my work done. The instances I’m specifically calling out are doing this as part of their work. I wouldn’t complain if it was a hobby or a recreation. This isn’t and it’s distracting from their work.

I notice this most within the startup world, education less so but on occasion in Notion forums, it does become apparent.

If I were to recommend any tools for use, and what I’ve found efficient. With minimal setup and can develop as you find you need. (The names are links too)

Sidekick Browser

This is a pretty neat tool, it’s a built-up Chrome browser with a lovely sidebar that really intuitively allows you to search and manage your most used web tools. From Github/lab to Figma, Notion and Drive. Import your chrome data and customize your sidebar a little and your set.

Additionally, Sidekick manages memory like a champ, it’s not necessarily workflow but the ai tab suspension is phenomenal. I never exceed 2Gb ram usage on this.


Notion is pretty powerful, it can quickly become a rabbit hole, but as long as you set up roughly what you need and refine as you go a new page or template can hit 90% of its functionality within 5 minutes of setup. I’d steer from templates, they require some conditions that can really bog down the setup and in all cases, I’ve seen end up scrapped or so far disconnected from their origin that the original template has been completely displaced.

Google Calendar

This is a calendar, everyone needs one, it’s not the most fancy but enough people use it to make collaboration easy and it’s simple to use. More customization not necessary.

Seriously though, it’s a free calendar. All you need to know

Hey & eM Client

Hey is good, great even. Only if you want it to manage your hosting and such. It’s not the best if you’ve other email accounts you wish to connect to it. For that I’d recommend eM client, it is easy to set up, the tagging is pretty useful. It’s not too hard to make look good either.

To summarise, I think the above bits are useful and don’t require thinking to set up. I also think your workflow should be a product of your work. Not something is done in anticipation of work. Just build things and alter your tools to suit your means. Obviously, if you enjoy making these workflow things as recreation, more power to ya


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