I agree that it shouldn’t be about maintaining a bearing’s life. At least not for me. I do use lube, but for me it’s all about the noise. I’m just not a fan of bearing noise… I am pretty obsessive about my computer noise, too. A little bit of lube goes a long way in shaving off dBa from a throw’s noise level.
To the OP: no matter how little lube you think you put in, it could still be the culprit. Even with the pin method I still sometimes need to break in a yoyo. With Gorillus Lubricus, I ALWAYS have to spend a long time breaking it (it’s a pretty thick lube!). With V4M less so. The YYJ stuff was in the middle.
The suggestion to run it without lube at all is a great one, even if you eventually want to lube. Run it dry, and you’ll know whether it was the lube causing responsiveness or if the bearing just needs to be replaced.
With mineral spirits, let it dry longer than you think it needs. Without a compressor handy, I spin dry to the best of my ability, and let it sit for a long while. No less than 15 minutes; if I’m not in a rush, a few hours while I do other stuff! Then I put it back on the stick and spin it a lot more… usually during this second spinning phase you can feel it gain more spin time for some reason… maybe whatever residue is left from the mineral spirits has to be worked through? Dunno. Anyhow, only once I notice this shift in spin time/sound do I put the bearing into a yoyo and give’er a go.
A bit OCD? Maybe…