Digital Life Simplification

I’m currently undergoing the process of simplifying my digital life. I am a tech guy. This doesn’t come easily to me. My instinct whenever there is a new cool service available is to try it out, especially if its free. I’m trying to use my free time a bit more wisely, though, so unless I see a way that it makes my life or the lives of those around me better, I’m going to try to keep away from it. Lots to learn from many Anabaptist brothers and sisters here who have a strong scepticism toward technology and the costs that come with it.

I’ve been thinking about what in particular this looks like for me and these are some things I’ve come up with.

Stage One – Websites

Stage one, partly complete, is rearranging my web content. I’ve started the move to a new web server. My main portfolio site ryanrobinson.ca is already moved. Along with that, I changed it from a big portfolio site with all kinds of things to a single page that just links to this site for all things theology, Alliteration Applications for all things tech, and the Canadian Bible Society website. Some items were moved to this blog, others to Alliteration Applications, others to LinkedIn. Other websites are getting other cleaning up and reorganizing along with the server switch. This should make it easier for me to keep everything up to date since I won’t have to change things in as many places (e.g. an app project would be on both Alliteration Applications and on the portfolio page… for no particular reason).

Stage Two – Social Media

What social media do I actually find makes my life or the lives of those around me better? Twitter is definitely safe, as are Facebook and LinkedIn, all of which offer something different and useful. Google+ is more because of the photo sharing and the links to other Google services than because of Google+ social networking itself, which I really only use for the Anabaptist Alliance group.

I’ve used Foursquare for a while but am not really sure why, so it’s out. Pinterest is out – signed up but never really used over the couple of years since. Vine is out – sometimes entertaining content but I’m never likely to upload there myself and I’m never going to see anything that actually makes my life better other than a quick laugh, which I could get easily enough elsewhere without feeling like I have to check it semi-regularly. Instagram is out, although I did debate otherwise because of a great new app on BlackBerry for it.

Stage Three – Other Services

Stage three will be clearing out some other web services. I could just leave the accounts open, I know, but I think for myself I am best off going ahead and deleting the accounts. I’m going to shut down Flickr and 500px so I only have to upload photos to Google+ – it’s not like I’ll ever be a professional photographer so there isn’t really anything those two offer that Google doesn’t. I’m not sure yet what else to include here but I’ll surely dig up more. I’ll do the same general thing with my BlackBerry phone, BlackBerry tablet, and Windows 8 desktop to clear out apps I never really use.

Stage Four – Digital Fasts

Stage four is the discipline of digital fasts. I’ve done this before but not much recently. No desktop one day a week for sure. Putting away the BlackBerry for the day is a lot tougher, but we will still have a home phone after the upcoming move so I will try, at least when we are home. I really only use my tablet for reading, which is what I would quite possibly do that day without desktop use (at least in the winter), so that may have to still be allowed.

Stage Five – Old and Not Efficient Gear

I’m definitely due for another round of elimination for the range of tech gear that I keep in storage. Some stuff might have been useful enough to keep at the time that aren’t really anymore. I don’t mind spending a bit here short term to make things a lot simpler, for example getting one good media centre solution out of my Xbox One (so far it is missing a few key features) so that I don’t have to have multiple boxes through the TV. That particular project has been an on-again, off-again goal for over a year but after the move I’ll probably settle on something and then try to leave it alone for a while.

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Anything else that helps you keep your digital life simplified that I should try out?

Ryan Robinson

It is easiest to identify Ryan as both theologian and tech guy. By day, Ryan is a Technical Consultant work with PeaceWorks Technology Solutions. There, he works on websites, CRMs, and SharePoint implementations. Along with blogging here, Ryan is a founding member of the MennoNerds blogging network and a contributor to the book A Living Alternative.