Digital Minimalism – Part 1. – The myth about technology making you more productive

This is the first video in the Digital Minimalism series where I talk about the benefits of reducing the amount of technology you use and just concentrate on the tech that supports your values, and actually contributes to achieving your goals.

00:00​ Intro
00:35​ Overview
00:48​ Shiny Object Syndrome
01:52​ More Inboxes
03:06​ The Learning Curve
04:53​ The Myth of Productivity
05:55​ Spending Less Time with Technology


This is the first video in the digital minimalism series where i talk about the benefits of reducing the amount of technology that you use
and just concentrate on the technology that supports your values and actually contributes to achieving your goals.

Today i’m going to be talking about some of the myths surrounding new technology and apps in particular and the misnomer that technology actually makes us more productive.

So the first myth is something called shiny object syndrome. This really is seeing new tools and immediately wanting to try them out
just to squeeze that additional one percent more productivity out of them. Rarely do apps give you that much more benefit despite us
wanting the app that does everything as it probably doesn’t exist and probably never will exist. I personally almost fell into this trap
once i started using Roam Research and Notion and so the lesson here is that one task manager, one note-taking app, one project management piece of software is probably just fine.

Myth number two is that when we take on these new apps generally we’re taking on additional inboxes and by inboxes i mean that every app or every new service brings at least one inbox or one place that you need to check in terms of the results of the data and input for
the data there’s always something some area within any new app that needs to be checked and i really don’t want to go into the notification side of things because then there are alerts that tell you to go back to check the inbox on the new app. The rule here really
is that no one wants more email no one wants more inboxes no one needs to check more things so if and when you do take on new applications that really are going to make you more productive, you need to deal with these new inboxes and how you’re going to update them and especially the potential trap of notifications that go with them.

Myth number three with taking on anything new is actually that there’s an investment in getting up the learning curve there’s very little in terms of applications that are so straightforward and so simple yet will add that productivity value so most of the new things will mean that there is a learning curve or a new process or a new way transferring the data getting up to speed on inputting data getting it to that point where it becomes useful. This investment in time and effort needs to be factored into your estimations when you take on something new. So take final cut pro for example the tool that i use for editing these videos. The learning curve on final cut pro is pretty steep it’s a complex beast and i still have some way to go in terms of really getting the best out of that and finishing the learning and getting more to the using. f i think about it i’ve spent more time learning how to use final cut pro than i have editing videos, which is what it was meant for. Now for me that’s not so bad i’m in this for the long term. My estimation was that i would spend at least two years creating these
youtube videos and so that investment in learning final cut pro up front is okay. The takeaway here is that there is quite an investment if
you know that the good tools are generally the slightly more complex ones there is that learning curve that goes with it and you should factor that in when trying out these new apps and tools.

Myth number four is that productivity itself is a bit of a myth. The the discussion and the marketing around a lot of these tools and apps is that it allows us to get more done. However if we think about this logically the real issue with productivity is to have less to do. So if we look at Richard Koch and his 80/20 principle, his book suggests that 80 percent of what we actually do is what he describes as low value work so really we should be looking to completely eliminate that 80 percent through delegation, through change in our process, through automation and so on, such that we can spend more of our time doing that 20% of high value work.

Myth number five is that spending more time with technology allows us to do things faster whilst if you think about it computing devices
generally do do things faster and they certainly do them more accurately over a prolonged period than people do. People make mistakes
that’s part of our natural process. I’m not sure anyone wants to spend more time sat in front of a computer, or more time on their phone. Research shows that it’s just simply bad for us. We gain weight because we sit here, essentially inactive. It can adversely affect our posture and it negatively affects our sleep in terms of the screen time, and actually it can even contribute to anxiety and depression. So my view is that we need to set up systems with the technology and allow that technology to run the system for us and that means that we
can get away from the computer, we can get away from the phone and this is essentially what i do for a living as a technology consultant.
I help my clients connect and automate their systems join them to their processes and then allow them to concentrate on the higher value tasks within their business.

That’s a brief view of some of the myths around technology and keeping technology to a minimum taking a minimalist view on it.

Digital Minimalism – Part 1. – The myth about technology making you more productive

Take a look at the Personal Productivity Framework

Take a look at my Airtable Consulting page.  For more about Airtable see here.

Take a look at my Asana Consulting page.  For more about Asana see here.