I woke up this morning to just over one hundred emails in my inboxes. This is only half the number I had been receiving. Unsubscribing from all those distribution lists is working. And it is freeing. I tend to avoid that which overwhelms me. Ironic since ignoring only escalates the problem leading to a greater sense of panic and lack of control. I don’t think about the changes I am making and wonder if I can keep this up long term; to do that adds to the “you never keep up with any kind of discipline.” Nonproductive self talk is so…nonproductive. Instead I just deal with one morning at a time and slowly move forward.
Extracting The Value
As I evaluated each company whose email I was considering stopping, I had to decide what value this company or site added to my life. The answer was none. In every single case, the answer was none. They are electronic junk mail. Not a single item made the quality of my life better, or enlightened me in some way.
The second step of this electronic simplification plan is to extract the value – even if it is mere entertainment – and discard the remainder. Since there was nothing of value in the email accounts I removed, I will now move to apps and the visual clutter of my phone.
I love puzzle games. I tell myself I am keeping my brain sharp by playing word games and putting together puzzles. I had a folder three pages long filled with games. Most bore me after a short period of time. I now have only two games, a Scrabble type game I play against anonymous people and a wooden block style puzzle. When I get bored I will delete one and find another. Gone are the days of filling mindless hours with buzzing and beeping games triggering a rush of pleasure hormones rewarding a spectacular move or a brilliant win.
I have pared down the front screen of my phone to the absolute essentials. I made my lock screen and wallpaper a dandelion to remind me that I am in this world to sow seeds of love and kindness; I can’t do that if I am absorbed with this electronic device. From here I can easily listen to music, read a book, check the weather, messages, or possibly Instagram. The lack of clutter on this screen reduces my desire to pick up the phone and scroll to the second page to find something to ‘do.’
Here is where some editing has happened and will happen again. Most of the apps on this page are never used, so why? What is the purpose of having them available.
I call it the ‘what if factor.’ What if I need to check traffic, shop, or edit a photo? What are the chances of any of those things happening on a daily basis. Slim and none and Slim left town. Evaluating, extracting and eliminating apps on this screen is my assignment today. Tomorrow I will show you where I ended up.
Having gained some mastery over the electronics in my life I will have the time, mental clarity and energy for doing things in the real world. I want to be creative, laugh, go outside (waiting for fall weather!) and live untethered to a device that promises so much yet delivers relatively little quality to my life.
For each area of life that is simplified, there is suddenly room for new and wonderful experiences. I hope that if any of this is an issue for you I have inspired critical analysis and action.