Why Less is More in your Digital Life

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by John Thompson

The world is an amazing place right now, isn't it? Don't feel like waiting in line at the grocery store? Want your garage door to open when you start your car? Want to hear the location of your car in a pirate voice? There's an app for all three! So much of our lives are now experienced digitally that we spend about a quarter of our waking hours on a mobile device. While digitalization has impacted us positively overall, its increase has also made us more and more enslaved to quick bursts of information that drag our attention away from more important tasks. Amazon, Apple, and Google are helping everyone take advantage of the interconnectedness of, well, everything with things like Echo, Siri, and Google Home, but they are not the end-solution to the problem... at least until we each have our own Mr. Meeseeks Box. By decluttering our digital lives we can be more efficient and effective with our time, allowing us to get more done, and/or having more time to enjoy ourselves.

App Fatigue

I used to like my apps, nay love my apps. They were cool, helpful, and exciting, but then they started to become a pain after I accumulated enough of them. In this app-saturated world many people are starting to succumb to “app fatigue,” which can be a real drain on productivity. There are just too many stimuli out there to allow someone to really focus on one thing without being distracted, and even time saving-apps don’t work effectively. The future of using apps productively requires creating ones that require less attention to use, are straightforward, and don't drag us in with constant reminders or poor attempts at engagement.

Consolidate Communication Channels

Digital communication is getting more important by the day, and you don't just communicate digitally with other people, you communicate with anything you own that has an Internet connection. Switching between all the different modes of communication to manage your physical and digital life can be a real drain on mental resources (i.e. app fatigue). And most of these distractions are just the day-to-day stuff. Since there doesn't exist a single product that can cover all methods and modes of communication, consolidating your means of communication to the fewest, most effective channels possible can clear your mind and enable you to get more done more easily. A digital declutter frees up mental space to get down to business.

So while the rise of massively connected, well marketed information devices is upon us, ask yourself these questions when deciding how to best adopt these technologies:

  • Will it simplify my life, or just introduce more momentary bursts of digital stimuli that are more distractions than anything else?
  • Will it consolidate my channels of communication, or even replace them to make things simpler for me?
  • Will it be useful going forward as the world becomes more interconnected?

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