Scaling down, to move forward.

I was always a curious kid, and that desire to explore never really left. I love tinkering, so I void warranties. I even have a t-shirt that my sister gave me to commemorate this life-choice. But it does end up consuming me, always wondering what else I can do, constantly playing, and taking time away from other activities, like, you know, living?

As a result of this small epiphany, I entered into a new agreement with myself this week: to slow down, increase focus, and limit the amount of time I spend playing with my iPhone. I realized that although I could hack the crap out of it and install a million interesting jailbreak applications (which I’d done, beginning in October of last year), what I really needed from my tiny, shiny friend was the minimum barrier to getting my daily tasks done in a decent fashion. Life has only gotten busier and more complicated over the past few months, and I’m starting to come to the realization that this is how it’s going to be from now on. I can’t spend as much time doing the things I used to, because other things find a way to wedge themselves in. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, it’s just… life.

So I’m conducting an experiment. I’ve restored my phone, losing the ability to run unsigned code (read: non-App Store apps) going to back to a stock device, and removed any non-essential apps – equaling about 75% fewer apps installed overall. Instead of an entire page of photo apps, three of which I actually use on any given day, I only have those three apps, and nothing more. I haven’t even tinkered with settings to customize the device as much this time, in an effort to make another eventual restore a little quicker, should I want to or need to do it.

Overall, I want to see if I can change the way I do things day-to-day, because I sometimes feel like I’m missing out on moments, despite the fact that I can rationalize almost anything to myself. I love tech, and live it every day, but there are other things in life too (blasphemy!). Plus, if I’m really serious about increasing my productivity, I have to start coming to terms with the things that suck it away (endless searching of the App Store isn’t helping).

I’m not saying it’s going to last, because I can’t suppress who I am. But it’s refreshing to sometimes change things up, and the stress of possibly bricking my main line of communication with the rest of the world is alleviated. That’s always the trade-off when you start breaking your toys open to see what’s inside. I don’t know how this will all shake out. But I do know that when I start avoiding change in my life is when I really start losing the ability to change.

Author: Seth Clifford

I'm here for the open bar.