12 min

Curiosity Management Love Your Work

    • Self-Improvement

Do you ever feel like you don’t have the time and energy to learn about everything you want to know? Is it hard to stay focused on reading one book, when there’s ten others you want to read? You need curiosity management.
Curiosity management is the management of your thirst to know things. In a world with unlimited access to information, and finite time and energy, it’s impossible to read every book, watch every documentary, or take every online course.
Unmanaged curiosity leads to “curiosity pressure” This leads to a feeling of “curiosity pressure.” Curiosity pressure is the feeling you’ll never learn all the things you want to learn.
When you’re under time pressure – curiosity pressure’s close cousin – and feel you don’t have enough time to do everything, your anxiety makes it hard to do one thing. When you’re under curiosity pressure and feel you can’t learn everything, your anxiety makes it hard to learn one thing.
A good curiosity-management system matches your level of curiosity with an appropriate level of engagement with the topic, given your available time and energy.
The downward spiral of poor retention, & feelings of inadequacy A day in the life of a curious mind looks like this:
Think of thing you want to learn about, such as the chemical processes behind making soap. Instantly go to Wikipedia. Follow every link and every footnote. Regain consciousness four hours later, with one-hundred tabs open, and no recollection of what you’ve consumed. Inexplicably, one of the tabs is about the Lorena Bobbitt scandal. Feel bad that you got nothing done, and didn’t learn much either. Surplus curiosity When you don’t satisfy your curiosity, despite doing the activities of investigation – such as reading or watching videos – you’re overcome with “surplus curiosity.” Surplus curiosity is a feeling you should always be investigating more topics.
The anxiety and inadequacy you feel from not satisfying your curiosity cause you to be curious about even more things. This drives a downward spiral: You feel bad for not knowing all you want to know, you want to know more things, but poorly managing your curiosity makes it impossible to satisfy your natural curiosities, much less your surplus curiosities.
The goal of curiosity management: Learn just enough, and remember it You’re not going to stop being curious. Your curiosity is a good thing. But if you can manage your curiosity, you can remember more of what you consume and reduce curiosity pressure. If you successfully reduce curiosity pressure, you’ll reduce the anxiety and feelings of inadequacy that actually drive some surplus curiosity.
The fundamental error: All-or-nothing curiosity The fundamental error most curious minds make is they want to learn everything about a topic the moment they become curious about it. Instead of spending five minutes perusing the Wikipedia page, they watch the four-hour documentary. Instead of reading the book summary, they try to read the whole book.
This drives the downward cycle: At some point, the media they’re engaged with calls for more time and energy than their actual curiosity for the topic merits. This causes fatigue and frustration. Yet there are still so many things they want to learn about, and feelings of anxiety and inadequacy flare up. The most immediate solution seems to be to read more, watch more, consume more – surplus curiosity. Yet little of it is absorbed, and the original curiosity that began the cycle is only vaguely satisfied.
The right engagement for the level of curiosity To engage appropriately with what you’re curious about, first assess the level of curiosity. There are three:
Compulsory curiosity is a feeling that you should know about this. Like, “What is this TikTok thing about?” Cursory curiosity is a feeling you’d like to know something about this topic. Like, “What is Marie Curie’s story?” Compulsive curiosity is a driving obs

Do you ever feel like you don’t have the time and energy to learn about everything you want to know? Is it hard to stay focused on reading one book, when there’s ten others you want to read? You need curiosity management.
Curiosity management is the management of your thirst to know things. In a world with unlimited access to information, and finite time and energy, it’s impossible to read every book, watch every documentary, or take every online course.
Unmanaged curiosity leads to “curiosity pressure” This leads to a feeling of “curiosity pressure.” Curiosity pressure is the feeling you’ll never learn all the things you want to learn.
When you’re under time pressure – curiosity pressure’s close cousin – and feel you don’t have enough time to do everything, your anxiety makes it hard to do one thing. When you’re under curiosity pressure and feel you can’t learn everything, your anxiety makes it hard to learn one thing.
A good curiosity-management system matches your level of curiosity with an appropriate level of engagement with the topic, given your available time and energy.
The downward spiral of poor retention, & feelings of inadequacy A day in the life of a curious mind looks like this:
Think of thing you want to learn about, such as the chemical processes behind making soap. Instantly go to Wikipedia. Follow every link and every footnote. Regain consciousness four hours later, with one-hundred tabs open, and no recollection of what you’ve consumed. Inexplicably, one of the tabs is about the Lorena Bobbitt scandal. Feel bad that you got nothing done, and didn’t learn much either. Surplus curiosity When you don’t satisfy your curiosity, despite doing the activities of investigation – such as reading or watching videos – you’re overcome with “surplus curiosity.” Surplus curiosity is a feeling you should always be investigating more topics.
The anxiety and inadequacy you feel from not satisfying your curiosity cause you to be curious about even more things. This drives a downward spiral: You feel bad for not knowing all you want to know, you want to know more things, but poorly managing your curiosity makes it impossible to satisfy your natural curiosities, much less your surplus curiosities.
The goal of curiosity management: Learn just enough, and remember it You’re not going to stop being curious. Your curiosity is a good thing. But if you can manage your curiosity, you can remember more of what you consume and reduce curiosity pressure. If you successfully reduce curiosity pressure, you’ll reduce the anxiety and feelings of inadequacy that actually drive some surplus curiosity.
The fundamental error: All-or-nothing curiosity The fundamental error most curious minds make is they want to learn everything about a topic the moment they become curious about it. Instead of spending five minutes perusing the Wikipedia page, they watch the four-hour documentary. Instead of reading the book summary, they try to read the whole book.
This drives the downward cycle: At some point, the media they’re engaged with calls for more time and energy than their actual curiosity for the topic merits. This causes fatigue and frustration. Yet there are still so many things they want to learn about, and feelings of anxiety and inadequacy flare up. The most immediate solution seems to be to read more, watch more, consume more – surplus curiosity. Yet little of it is absorbed, and the original curiosity that began the cycle is only vaguely satisfied.
The right engagement for the level of curiosity To engage appropriately with what you’re curious about, first assess the level of curiosity. There are three:
Compulsory curiosity is a feeling that you should know about this. Like, “What is this TikTok thing about?” Cursory curiosity is a feeling you’d like to know something about this topic. Like, “What is Marie Curie’s story?” Compulsive curiosity is a driving obs

12 min