Enjoying inefficiency

It’s not just my mum who thinks that the world is or at least can be too efficient.1

Time is the most valuable - because irreplaceable - resource we have in life - and we don’t even know how much we have. No surprise that in younger years I perceived anything in everyday life using more time than required as wasted time.

That’s changed. To my surprise, I found out that I’m happy being inefficient - in my private time. The caveat: It needs to be deliberate inefficiency.

My new view:

If my everyday is perfectly optimized, I might as well be a work robot.

It’s unavoidable that we use time to fulfill fundamental needs like eating and sleeping. I stopped to consider fulfilling these basic needs as waste of time which need to be efficientised. Instead I’m learning to embrace their unavoidability and to turn them into something enjoyable, optimized for happiness and quality.

It started with enjoying hand operated coffee grinders and a lever espresso machine. A slow, meditative morning routine full of delicious smells and feeling the grain of wooden handles in my palm. It seeped into sliding self-made pizza into a pizza oven.2 Accepting that careful preparation days in advance is required, to bite into usually imperfect results. The time spent handling dough only increased from there: Making pasta (including Ravioli) ourselves.3 And lastly, using the sour dough culture previously fed for Pizza dough for bread too. There’s rarely a day my hands don’t knead. No wonder we started milling grains freshly at home.

All of these habits noticeably reduce the time available for what I previously considered my hobbies. There’s days and moods (acute hungriness being at the forefront) where the additional work and wait times feel annoying.

But overall there’s no going back. Slow moments have a different quality to them. Individually they might not even be more memorable than a “fast” one. Taken together, they create a more conscious spirit. Re-enacting an action slowly again and again engraves it into one’s body, one’s person. My days are sprinkled with small moments full of enjoyment. Slow moments are time I get to spend on experimenting and getting better at the activities I choose to be inefficient at.

There’s still so many areas I’d like to explore and archive some level of mastery in. Getting into all of them would outspent the time I have even if I wouldn’t work. So yeah… choose your inefficiencies wisely. But please do choose some!

Not every day can feel special as a whole. Most days are everydays. A good routine improves these every days. And good every days sustain long term happiness!


  1. Opinion-piece. Machine learning related - machine learning seems to be a topic where there’s more consciousness around being “too efficient”. Flowing into over-fitting outside of AI - I found this article interesting because it flows into the topic of well-intended KPIs resulting in undesired behavior if optimized too much for.

  2. Leaving Berlin left my wife and me deprived of the great pizza found nearly everywhere, our favorites being W Pizza, Zola, and Standard.

  3. This one can feel questionable - it’s quite annoying to have to knead a dough for more minutes than a store-bought pasta takes time to cook. Preparation’s your friend: Make the pasta dough hours in advance - when you’re hungry, the process is now nearly as quick as dumping a package of pasta into boiling water due to the shorter boil time.