“Best practices” is a term that we love to bandy about. Even I will find myself relying on it at times, although I try very hard to avoid uttering its syllables. Best practices are frequently espoused as the essential and optimal means of attaining results. Generally, they are absolutely nothing of the sort. Nonetheless, many use the term as a proactive defense to justify their preferred way of working, or an after-the-fact rationalization the actions they have taken. This is my attempt to explain as clearly as I can why this is a dangerous and inappropriate idea.
Thinking Out Loud
I write a lot. That is an unavoidable truth. I’ve been putting my thoughts on this site on a mostly-weekly basis for several years now. While having an audience is valuable—and I’m grateful for the feedback that I do receive from readers—in many ways the person that I am most writing for is myself. I write to think, and I think to learn. Sometimes what I have to say surprises me as much as it might stimulate thought for someone else. And that is entirely the point.
(Re)Finding Attention, Context and Meaning
Our brains are wonderful things. And so our our smartphones. We now have a smartphone in our pocket, and previously unimagined information at our fingertips. The challenge is knowing what to do with all that power. Or, more to the point, recognizing how the easy access to information makes us think about decisions and choices, and think in general. The more we take for granted about information that’s available, the less we take the time to recognize and work through what we already know.