# Do nothing

The unreasonable effectiveness of doing nothing.

A typical interaction.

I had a colleague send me a message the other day:

12:13pm colleague: hi copple

Me: spend 2 minutes pondering how to politely suggest a better method of asynchonous communication.

12:15pm me: hi, how can I help?

One minute later

12:16pm colleague: can i check if stripe integration has been removed from xero? cause a client is trying to pay for an invoice via credit card but the button is no longer there

Me: do nothing.

12:28pm colleague: ah no worries - it's sorted already

Why you should do nothing.

I spent my early career as a sysadmin in a company of about 300 people. These interactions were frequent. Being a young upstart I would jump on them straight away.

Often I would spend hours solving the problem, prioritising it above what I was previously doing, only to find it wasn't important to begin with.

The reason people make these requests is that it removes a burden from the requestor. They have some stress, and they need someone to offload that stress on. This has nothing to do with the actual problem and everything to do with the person's peace of mind.

At some point we realise that we aren't paid to be psychologists, we are paid to solve problems in the order of most important first.

Do less.

Make sure you cut out the signal from the noise. Sometimes the best course of action is no action at all.

Last Updated: 11/27/2023, 3:09:58 PM