Simple Sunday: Technology

by Frank Martin

Simple Sunday is a relatively new series here on m3 on a weekly schedule, giving five to ten suggestions of simple, easy ways we can simplify some area of life. This week we’re taking a look at five ways to tame the technological monster:

1 Conquer digital pack-rattery: If you’re anything like me, you probably have a TON of bookmarks. How many do you actually use on a regular basis? Why not take a couple minutes every couple weeks and go through and delete the ones you aren’t using?

2 One Thing: This will likely pop up on a lot of these lists, and you saw it coming, I imagine. Simply put: if you’re looking at a web page, only have that page open. There are a few great little aps to help with this. My absolute favorite is called Instapaper. For nothing more than an e-mail address and password, it lets you save online articles for later. They also let you read with all the ads, graphics, and extraneous junk cleared away, so you can focus on the content. Though this doesn’t work on a lot of embedded videos, if you’re watching something on youtube, there is almost always a button that will enlarge the video to fill the screen, thus eliminating any distractions.

It is easy to simplify video viewing as well. I use Quietube to eliminate everything but the video I’m watching. It doesn’t work with everything, but it will convert Youtube and Vimeo. I use a Chrome extension, but for other browsers there is a bookmarklet.

3 Digital Sabbaticals: Yet another topic thats made an appearance here before. Once a week, take a day off from using the internet. Clean house, spend time with family and friends, read a paper book, go for a walk. You may just be pleasantly surprised at how refreshed you feel. In a world where we’ve become used to taking in information like drinking from a fire hose its nice to take a step back every once in a while.

4 Focus social networking: Do you have a twitter account? Tumblr? Google Plus? Facebook? How many of these things do we really need? How many do we really get value from and aren’t simply stressed by? Choose one, maybe two services at most, and either close the other accounts or limit how often you check them. I promise, the world won’t end. Instead of reading updates, why not call up a friend sometime, or go out for coffee? Or do we really need to know where someone is and what they’re doing all the time?

5 Focus blog reading: How many blogs are you subscribed to? Feeling overwhelmed? Why not choose five you really enjoy and let the rest go?