Is Faster Better?

Sometimes it seems that life moves very fast, and you need to move very fast just to keep up with it. But have you ever stopped to wonder: is faster better?

Looking at the issue in simple terms, it seems the answer is yes, faster is better. After all, the limiting factor in our lives is time. Even the longest living among us has a finite — and relatively short — amount of time to be alive. So if we move faster, we do more.

However, quantity is not the same as quality. Doing more is not the same as doing things well.

It is possible that doing one thing very well is more meaningful, more impactful, and more rewarding than doing several things less well.

Productivity is such a powerful notion, though. Productivity has steadily increased over the last several decades. This may have to do with us working harder. In addition, we have more tools than ever before to help us to be productive.

Companies like productive workers. Productive parents can do more for their children. You can be a better friend or family member through productivity. Or at least, that is the message from a society built around productivity.

That may be true for drudge work. If a machine helps you to wash dishes faster, for example, that leaves you with more time for other, more pleasant, activities.

But what about non-drudge work? Is it better to write faster? Read faster? Talk faster? Play faster? Are there some activities where doing things more slowly is better (however you define better)? Or is it the case that for everything we do in life, faster is better?

Related questions: How can we be more productive? Are we too busy? Fast or slow? What is the value of inefficiency?



1 thought on “Is Faster Better?”

  1. I’m a quality-over-quantity person.

    I fault corporations for imposing a go-faster ethos on individuals and society. They want us to consume more, which means we need to speed up our use of the things they want to feed us.

    Personally, I read slowly. I underline the content I want for future use and write my opinions about what I’m reading in the margins. My writing process is slow, too, with each note or essay going through multiple revisions, whether it be for public viewing or meant solely for personal use. As an introvert, I ease into conversations slowly as well.

    I want to do two things faster: type and run.

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