10 years ago I carried a pocket calendar, an ipod and a cell phone with me everywhere I went. I needed all three items to navigate my day. And I was always looking for the holy grail item that would integrate all three.
First up was a blackberry. I loved the full sized keyboard and email capability. Texting was getting popular so I liked not having to press a button 5 times to change a letter. I loved having all of my contact information is one spot even if backing it up and keeping it synced with my pc was a pain. The downside to the blackberry was I couldn’t play music and the screen sucked.
The iPhone 3G was my first holy grail moment of having everything in one spot. It wasn’t perfect but it was dang close.
Keep in mind this was before social media. This was back in the days you had to have a college email address to sign up for facebook. There was no twitter or instagram. Mobile web browsing was an exercise in patience due to slow 3G connection speeds. But I had access to everything I needed on a daily basis with none of the distractions. In other words, I wasn’t glued to my phone.
Everything changed when 4G LTE and twitter came on the scene. Now I could surf the web at speeds close to what I had at work and twitter was my gateway drug to world that had a constant stream of information. Back then I also subscribed to about 50 blogs using Google Reader. When you combined that with twitter, I was hooked.
I thought I was done looking for the perfect way to manage my life. But now 10 years later, I’m understanding it was all a mirage. A computer enhanced hallucination. I hadn’t gained the most useful tool ever that would triple my efficiency and thereby enable me to redeem time I could spend as I pleased. What I had gained was a crutch.
My holy grail had become my holy jail. I was addicted to information, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Blogs, Apps. . . The time I redeemed was sucked up by my crutch.
The results were small and seemingly insignificant at first. I’d laugh off not remembering a phone number or forgetting an appointment because I’d failed to put in my phone.
Now I know I robbed myself of basic skills I need to survive and the needed repetition to keep those skills sharp. For instance, studies have shown your retention rate is above 80% when your write something as opposed to less than 30% when you type it. And the more times you dial a phone number the more it’s cemented into your memory.
All of this means I’m going to start working on a hybrid system. Part digital part analog. As of now there’s no way to carry around my music and podcasts without it being in a digital device. But I’m going to keep a list of my most critical phone numbers in my paper pocket calendar. I’ll also make this calendar my master and use the digital version as my backup. I’m sure I’ll come up with others but that’s where I’m going to start.