Flirting With Simplicity

The pandemic has undoubtedly changed the way the world operates. On the one hand, it has pushed technology that had already existed to the forefront. Video meetings are now the norm. Classes are now conducted online. Social distancing means ...

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The pandemic has undoubtedly changed the way the world operates. On the one hand, it has pushed technology that had already existed to the forefront. Video meetings are now the norm. Classes are now conducted online. Social distancing means more entertainment at home and on computer screens. We are spending more and more time in front of screens. Does it make much sense to have smartphones anymore? We are spending less and less time out of home or out of the office. With the exception of GPS for navigation, does it make sense to be connected for those short periods we aren't at the computer?
Nokia feature phone
I have found myself pondering these things. There has been a resurgent sense of wanting to return to simpler ways of doing things. I have dusted off my old Nokia phone and forwarded my work and personal phones to it. I happen to have a Truphone SIM card for travel that has free incoming calls. Of all the methods of communication, messaging is the most misused. If you send me a text message or chat message, it is recorded and will be there when I come back and check for messages. If there is urgency, you call the person. A call should be answered unless you are busy. Surely the world can wait for me to go to the toilet or to finish my driving without requiring me to read a message, right?

Mudita is about to launch a premium phone that is very minimalistic, including an e-ink display. The Pure phone does offer a desktop dashboard so that you can interface with it much easier than using the keypad. With 16 GB of storage, you can be sure that the phone does more than just make phone calls and send SMS. Except that the extra features are only usable when you plug it in to you computer, such as the Internet tethering. It is tempting to order the phone. Nokia offers affordable feature phones. But, sometimes it is worth paying a premium for a device that offers a more durable design. Mudita is made for international use and supports dual SIM cards. Like the Nokia, the battery maintains a charge for several days.
Freewrite
Computers are another source of distraction. The multifunctionality is a blessing and a curse. Computers are able to do so many things. We often task them to do many things too. As a result, there is always something to keep you busy. There is always a new notification or distraction. You can switch from email to YouTube to shopping or some other interest. If you are a writer, this multifunctionality can be a major distraction. For this reason, there is the Freewrite. This is a device that only does one thing, allow you to write. It is so focused you can't even edit documents. All you can do is sit there and pound out some writing, which gets uploaded to the cloud. From the cloud, you can download the text and edit it on another device. This sort of single purpose makes it easier to meet word goals. There is no email or any other notification popping up and asking for your attention. All you do is turn on the Freewrite and get to work.

Similar to the computer, tablets are also excessively multifunctional. While they can be useful for getting work done, they are also a source of distraction. This is where a device like reMarkable comes into play. It is a note-taking and document reading device that lacks any interest in the Internet at large. Your notes instantly save to PDF. You can open and annotate PDFs. You can even use it to read books. No distractions.

Of course, you can't go wrong with e-readers. The non-glaring displays are easy on the eyes when you are inclined to sit down to read a book. Amazon makes the Kindle Oasis that allows you to read books or listen to audio books via Bluetooth. Again, having a dedicated device means that you can dedicate your attention to the task at hand and perhaps even complete it before moving on to something else.

It's understandable that you would want to maximize the use of a tablet or computer by having it do anything and everything. However, this often means that they do end up doing anything and everything, which translates in them goading you into doing anything and everything too. Focus is just too precious in this day and age. You will find that people who are able to sit down and do one thing will often stand out from the crowd for their ability to get things done.