New Toy Syndrome

I truly thought this was just me. If I’ve found, say, an app that works for me and I think is good, I maybe over-enjoy using it. Right now I’m havering over my forthcoming review of OmniFocus 2 for Mac because I’m wondering how much of what I like is down to it just being an old feature done in a new way.

Whether it is that or not, I am greatly enjoying using that software and it has changed how I do my work. So I’m fine with that, I’m more than fine with it – except that there is good reason to suspect it will change. It will tail off.

Clive Thompson writing in Medium:

Psychologists have noticed the novelty effect for decades. Back in the 1930s, the Hawthorne Works factory decided to change the lighting for its workers to see which would improve productivity: Higher levels? Lower levels? It turned out that it didn’t matter which way they went — any change in the workplace produced a temporary boost in productivity. Scientists call this the “Hawthorne Effect”, and while the historical record of Hawthorne is still being scrutinized, the novelty effect it epitomizes is seen all over science. Indeed, many scholars suspect novelty effects are behind some “positive” results in social-science experiments. A bunch of researchers will say Hey, let’s experiment with giving elementary-school kids individual laptops! and lo: The children do better! Except the improvement might be not because of the tool itself, but merely because the kids’ world becomes different and interesting, temporarily.

The Novelty Effect – Clive Thompson, Medium (6 June 2014)

I find that last part about kids supremely depressing. But where I might also be unhappy at the thought my new shiny OmniFocus 2 for Mac may lose its iridescence soon, I’m okay with it.

Because OmniFocus 2 for iPad is coming.

Hat tip to Lifehacker for spotting the novelty article. And hat tip to The Omni Group, because.