Making things convenient matters.

No one likes doing inconvenient things – which means spending effort on things that normally shouldn’t require effort.

And anything that’s inconvenient to do is among the first things you’ll stop doing.

That’s why convenience is among the most useful ideas out there, one you can use nearly every hour of everyday.

Why it Matters

It is the duty of government to make it difficult for people to do wrong, easy to do right.

William Gladstone

Gladstone’s ideal government doesn’t have to coerce people – it creates an environment (or in fancier words, incentive structure) where people choose to do right and choose not to wrong themselves.

The messier and more complicated the laws, the harder it is for people and businesses to follow them – and soon enough, most businesses will start to question the point of following them.

The messier and more complicated the laws, the harder it is for governments to enforce them.

It’s the opposite of Gladstone – it’s difficult to do right and easy to do wrong. It becomes easier not to follow them and so many people won’t.

This looks like an example at a large-scale : governance.

But it’s really nothing but the cumulative effect of many micro-events. Millions of individuals, businesses and officials individually decide that it’s too inconvenient to follow the rules and hence don’t.

The same thing plays out in pretty much any activity.

Everyone wants convenience. No one likes doing inconvenient things.

This doesn’t mean people avoid hard things like climbing a mountain or running a marathon or studying. Most people can do hard things, and many choose to.

Inconvenience means that something should be easier than it currently is. It’s artificially hard because some obstacles have been created that aren’t there in most circumstances.

So people might be willing to avoid junk food and eat healthy.

But if you had to pay 5 times for healthy food as compared to junk food, or if you had to cook for an hour every time you wanted a healthy meal while you could order junk food in 5 minutes, or if most of the options in your hostel were unhealthy – then it’s not a fair fight.

It’s set up so that junk food has a massive advantage over healthy food.

Some people might still do it and eat clean, but many won’t. It’s natural to take the easier course. And even those who like challenges probably wouldn’t like pointless ones – it’s one thing to struggle for hours to solve a difficult math problem, and another to struggle for hours everyday to procure healthier food options.

And even those that did would waste massive amounts of effort and time to overcome the inconvenience through willpower. Willpower is usually finite – they could have put this to much better use on other things where it’s actually needed, rather than overcoming fake hardness in the form of inconvenience.

Convenience as an Enabler

There are two things I look for in a gym –

First: whether it has the basics (barbells, squat rack, bench, decent dumbbells).

And second: how close is it, and specifically – can I get there walking. And if it’s open most of the day.

Most of the other stuff is either irrelevant (like personal trainers), or hygiene factors – it shouldn’t be crazily expensive.

The first condition – if it has the basics – matters because without that it’s a pseudo-gym, an imposter gym – only a gym in name. There’s no point going there.

The next matters because of convenience.

1 – It’s hard to make time and fit it in otherwise.

2 – If you save 10-15 minutes one way a few days a week, you’d save two hours a week and 4 days a year just in commute time.

The convenience principle is simply: Make it easy to do good things.

Which means – Make it easy to do things that matter to you, that you want to do.

If you want to drink enough water, don’t create an environment where you need to walk miles or wait a long time to get water – try to have it at hand.

If you want to learn an instrument, keep it outside near you rather than locking it up in a corner where it’s out of sight and you first have to remember to do it, then you have to walk all the way and unlock it.

Inconvenience as a Disabler

The previous section was about creating convenience, or in other words avoiding inconvenience where it harms you.

But inconvenience can also have benefits.

There are plenty of situations where you’d want to create inconvenience because it can be your ally.

It’s usually when you don’t want to do something but you can’t resist.

That’s why setting really long passwords on your accounts on social media can help reduce how much you use them. Of course, most companies know that and set it up so you don’t need to sign in every time – just click an app and you’re there. The counter to this is to uninstall apps and only use FB or whatever from your laptop. Or go one step further and delete it completely.

If you’re looking for news and a website asks you to register before you can read an article, you might just shut the tab instead – because it’s much easier to read the same thing from another one that doesn’t ask you to make the pointless effort of registering, Only a really good article is worth that much trouble, not something that’s undifferentiated and can be found anywhere else.

Similarly, keeping your phone at a distance while working makes it less likely you’ll be distracted and keep picking it up in between, because now you have to make the effort of getting up to reach it.

Not having a credit card makes it much less likely you’ll spend beyond your means, if that’s a problem you face, because it’s much harder to without one.

And you can use inconvenience on other people as well.

Living on the top floor of a hostel makes it less likely people will come and disturb you because you’re probably not that important to them that they’ll make such an effort to reach out to you. Whereas if you have the other problem, that you want to socialize more – leaving your room open or choosing a more central location help.

Similarly, many people disengage from email or social media or don’t give out their details because they don’t want it to be so convenient that lots of people reach out to them. It takes away their time. Increasing the inconvenience to contact you means that people need to put more of an effort, and just like demand falls as price increases, demand falls as effort increases.


So, to paraphrase Gladstone, the point of convenience is to make it easy to do what you want and difficult to do what you don’t.



Sir,Whatever we or anyone want to give and give their input ,in terms of career and competitive exam.(how to make simplify those things) so that we can think that we are doing this work at our convenience.


Like.. keeping more number of books at your sight. And lesser number of distractions out of sight. I feel Convenience is also an outcome of doing things repeatedly when it is difficult to do. So next time they become more convenient.

dragon Warrior

It’s “nudging”. Making the ‘Option’ you want to choose, Easier to choose. Humans behavior is a function of several factors, prominent among them are genes and Environment. If you change the environment, behavior will change. So you can tweak the environment as an enabler or as a disabler. It’s the reason why you find junk-packaged foods easier to access in a super market and healthy foods in some corner or on the lowest shelf.
But unfortunately this works in other domains also. One of the reason behind low crime reporting in India is not because Indians are highly moral beings but the judicial process is wrecked. From filing a complain to finally getting an award is filled with bottlenecks. So people simply choose not to report it.

**btw i do use those phone-laptop hacks 😉
you write crisp and lucid. Keep writing.


Yes, nudging / incentive is the same idea. Just as firms choose a default “opt out” rather than “opt in” because most people go with the default.
Same for crime reporting / appearing as a witness – no one wants to get into an inconvenience, and it’s not their fault.


So true!


I am really enjoying reading the depth you have gathered about some common aspects of life. Would love to read more.