Sunday, November 20, 2016

A simpler life

As I was going through my regular process of changing the passwords on my various accounts today, it really struck me how annoying it really is. I know it's a necessary evil in the highly technological world of today, but that doesn't make it any more fun. This post isn't about proper password protocol though - it's just part of what got me thinking about simplifying my life once again. 
I also read a book this weekend for work called Eat That Frog by Bryan Tracy. In a nutshell, the book gives you 21 ways to avoid procrastination and be more productive. Tracy uses the analogy of eating a frog to emphasize the value of knocking out the biggest, nastiest thing you have to do first. After that, the rest will seem easy...if it's still important at all. 

This book goes hand in hand with the lean management concept. One of the key points to being lean is to eliminate anything that doesn't add value. In simple terms, you scrap the junk and focus on the good. When you add the frog eating skills from above, you have a game plan anyone can embrace. Simple is great. Freeing up time AND maximizing the time you have to use is awesome. That brings me back to my password updates. 

It really doesn't take all that long to update a password for a particular site. The part that proved to be a time suck was every time I updated a single password, I got multiple alerts and had to change the login on multiple devices. 

For example, when I updated the password on my Outlook email, I had to update the app on my daily phone, an old spare phone that I use on occasion and my laptop. I made those changes only to get a new set of alerts because those credentials are also stored in other apps. My Gmail app pulls three of my emails and I have automation apps that link most of my social media accounts. Now take those steps and repeat them 20+ times (in my case) and you start to get annoyed. 

I learned a few things from this. First and foremost, I wondered why this hasn't irritated me as much in the past. I think having just read a book about time management had "wasting time" in the front of my mind. It's amazing how the little things I've done every day suddenly seem blatantly obvious when my mind is deep in thought about time management.

The next most important thing I learned is that I have way too many notification alerts setup. This one actually surprised me because I personally felt I had done a decent job of limiting my push notifications to the more critical functions. Apparently not. Getting an alert when your password is changed is a good practice, but I found all kinds of alerts that were setup that were redundant or unnecessary. For instance, my Google+ sends me emails and push notifications for a whole mess of alerts. Why would I need two notifications for one alert? Answer: I don't. In fact, I really don't need any notifications at all for most of them. 

That leads me to the next eye opener... Why do I have so many different accounts? Are they adding value or wasting more of my time? That's not quite as easily answered for most. Twitter is one that I made a call on today and it's now gone. I have received no value from it whatsoever and it sends more notifications that most of my other accounts combined. Sure I can change the notifications, but why bother if the account doesn't add value. Delete was so much easier. We'll see how the other accounts hold up over the next few weeks. 

Starting today, I am going to be eating more frogs. Life is too valuable to waste time with things that don't add value and/or constantly distract me with their notifications. Going forward, I will relax knowing that security alerts will come through, but none of the other garbage will. I have set aside a couple of small windows of time to manually review in-app notifications. Other than those times, my alerts can wait and I will enjoy life instead. 

I had already intended to scale down my online/blogging time to almost nothing from Thanksgiving through Christmas and this plan falls in line with that. I want to make sure I am focusing on the family and friends in my everyday life and not getting sucked into my online/computer life. I don't know that you, the reader, will see a huge difference - which is the point. My intent is to get nearly the same results with a fraction of the "effort" as far as time goes. We'll see what happens, Until next time....