A few days back I read a very good and thought provoking post by Brad Feld called My Smart Phone Is No Longer Working For Me.
In short, it covers the ‘mobile first’ movement and also how distracting being constantly connected can be.
Like Brad, the few times I haven’t had my phone with me (pretty much when I forget to take it with me someplace!) I am far more engaged and present in what I am doing – there is something liberating about it too. The experience isn’t constantly being broken by reaching for the phone to check twitter, facebook or email – which you checked literally 2 minutes ago anyway!.
Of course you could just decide not to check the phone as often but we all know how compelling checking email and social networks can be – it’s borderline addicting.
I believe being fully engaged and present in experiences (spending time with family and friends, taking time with yourself, hobbies etc.) will make me much happier. I also believe that answering email and checking twitter less often will make me far more productive in two main ways. Firstly, I will spend less time overall checking email and twitter (it’s simply quicker to go through 100 emails in one go rather than 50+ times) and secondly the time I spend on other things I will both enjoy and be better at (they will have my full and undivided attention).
So, with that I have removed all of my email accounts from my phone and also deleted all social networking apps. I also deactivated my Facebook account as I have growingly been feeling it is an utterly useless waste of my time – I simply get nothing from it. Mark Cuban makes some good points on this here – What I Really Think About Facebook.
The other change I made recently related to the above was to ditch Google reader. With approx. 30 rss feeds which tended to generate approx. 200 new items a day – it was information overload! I grew to hate logging into the damn thing. I would perhaps get a couple of good reads per 200 items and there really is no way of being able to identify them without wading through everything. Instead I am now relying on twitter for discovery of content which is working out really nicely (I tend to follow smart people who share smart things). If I miss the odd thing, who cares? I now spend much more time reading vs. ploughing through stuff I don’t care about.
Lastly, I am going to try and do an offline day per fortnight – that’s no phone and no internet. I have a feeling I will end up doing some things I would have never done had I had my phone / laptop to hand.
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