Ready to slow life down a bit and ditch the chaos? Try these 5 tips that use technology to help reduce some of the e-clutter in your life.
Do you ever feel like technology is overwhelming?
You’re probably wondering if that’s even a serious question..
As much as we tout its ability to help us better manage just about everything, I think it kicks me in the butt just as often as it helps me. M would definitely tell you that Instagram and I spend way too much time together.
There are, however, a few apps or technology tips I’ve been using for the last few months (or year or two, in some cases) that have been really helpful in alleviating how much technology and all those never-ending notifications bog me down.
Here are 5 technology apps or tricks that you might find helpful too.
Plain and simple, this email management tool, Unroll.me, helps streamline email and sort through the junk, the ok stuff, and the important stuff. For no cost and with about 5-10 minutes of set up, your email will be so.much.easier!
When you sign up, you quickly sort through all the subscriptions the program finds and mark each as 1) something from which you want to unsubscribe, 2) something you’d like to roll up into a daily summary email or 3) something you’d like to keep in your inbox.
I don’t know about you, but unsubscribing from emails feels like such a pain in the neck. Unroll.me couldn’t make it any easier or faster.
I also have a slew of emails I like receiving but that aren’t urgent, so the program rolls all of them into one daily email that I receive each afternoon. I scroll through my Unroll.me summary email in about 30 seconds and can open whichever ones appear relevant. I spend so much less time reading emails I don’t need.
Even more helpful, it’s trained me not to check my emails a billion times a day. I don’t often have new emails because almost everything is rolled up into my summary. Eliminating the urge to constantly see if something “new and exciting” popped into my inbox is worth the sign up time alone (at least for me).
Insert the “hands in the air with four little triangles” emoji here. Dashlane is a sanity saver.
Dashlane stores all my passwords for each site under one master password. Anytime I visit a site with a username and password, Dashlane logs me in automatically. I wrote an entire post about how much frustration Dashlane has saved me. I have a paid subscription (totally worth the cost for me), but there is a free version as well. You’ll never look back.
Family calendar + Grocery and shopping lists + Recipe box + Birthday Reminders. There are lots of apps that help manage family schedules and shopping lists. I like Cozi for a few reasons.
First, Cozi has one combined schedule but also allows activities to be designated to a particular person (one of your children, for example). Certain users can be limited to certain calendars. So each child can see their own schedule without the chaos of everyone else’s schedules interfering.
As a parent, M and I have the “luxury” of seeing all four calendars, but I think it’s helpful when the kids can focus on their own. Right now, our boys are young enough that they aren’t managing their own calendars, but I really like this feature for now and for something the boys will grow into.
I like the shopping list module not only because I can add things as I think of them while I’m out and about, but also because it has a nice “shopping mode.” In the shopping mode, items are grayed out and sent to the bottom of the list when they are checked off. I think this is pretty nice when I have a load of items on my grocery list and can focus on just the remaining few things as I knock out the list.
Cozi also has functionality to sync with published calendars on the Internet. So when sports or school calendars are online, they can be uploaded into Cozi instead of entered manually day by day. This was really great for us.
Hide Work Email
I have an app on my phone that allows me to check my work emails. Seeing that little red circle indicating new emails is so tempting to check. About six months ago, I moved my work email app to the second page of apps on my phone. I know it seems silly, but it’s made a huge difference.
I no longer check my work emails mindlessly, like I often used to do. It not only means less unproductive time on my phone, but also fewer emails that get checked on my phone and then lost in the shuffle when I sit down at my computer.
Eliminate or Reduce Notifications On Your Phone
Most apps want to provide notifications to us when certain things happen. Occasionally, this is helpful. Most times, I think these just cause distractions.
For nearly all my apps (including things like Instagram and other social media, Gmail, Podcast updates, Slack and many more), I turn off the notifications so I’m not tempted to check updates that really aren’t urgent until it’s a good time for me.
I still get notifications when I receive text messages and for reminders or calendar items on the horizon (I think that’s the point of the reminders, right? :)). But not being notified of messages or updates from various apps really reduces the frequency of interruption when I’m engaged in “real life.”
Have Any Other Suggestions?
Have you tried any of these? Do they help you stay engaged with your everyday life and limit distractions or technology “time sucks”?
Got any other ideas I can try. I’m always up for new tips and tricks (and I’m sure my family would appreciate it as well…).