Organize more efficiently, live and work more easily: order and minimalism


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We have dealt extensively with the use of technical devices in recent years. And found: They fundamentally change our entire life, including the non-digital areas.

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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisher, German Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.

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How much digitalization is changing our work and life

A while ago I was able to find out how much digitalization as a way of life and work penetrates into all of our lives, and explicitly also into the non-digital areas, using my own example: When hanging curtains that I had hung in the wrong row of rails, my brain intuitively searched for the reset button.

So far we are, some will think now. But I keep noticing how much and fundamentally not only our user interfaces, but also the way we work and think, change fundamentally due to the introduction of tablets, smartphones and apps.

Label instead of folder: the end of the hierarchical order?

For example, we are used to organizing our work hierarchically, in folders, subfolders and sub-subfolders. We imagine that things will be easier to find if we sort them well enough. With many technical innovations, however, this no longer works because the principle has changed:

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Gmail no longer sorts mails in folders, but in labels and conversations. Likewise, newer user interfaces of PC desktops no longer work according to the drawer principle, but let us sort our preferred programs freely according to our wishes without any order constraints - such as Windows 8 or Unity in Ubuntu. Both systems encountered (and still encounter) great resistance among users, precisely because the new freedom is confusing.

The application of our thinking

I call the described development appification of our thinking. Or simply continuing the slogan “Simplify your life” “Appify your life”. It is no longer just about simplifying, but about breaking down workflows in as few work steps as possible and making them intuitive, instead of operating in defined structures.

This also applies to the topic of cleaning up, which is somehow a permanent topic when it comes to time management and productivity. Logical, because it is also one of the most widespread problems that we have in our overcrowded affluent society and thus in our overcrowded apartments: keeping order and keeping an overview. And digital thinking can also help us here. There are even practical apps that help you get rid of unnecessary things quickly and easily.

By the way: Just get rid of the stuff

Because the most effective method for tidying up for me is still: Get rid of the unnecessary stuff - because the more the shelves bend and the more violently the cupboards overflow, the faster there is clutter again - you can tidy up and systematize as long as you want , The other way round, the emptier it is, the more automatically it gets tidier. My favorite method of tidying up is tidying up in an hour. Because it mainly helps chronic procrastinators who, due to sheer disorder, do not even know where to start cleaning up.

In the end you get three piles: A for papers and things you still want to keep. B for things you still have to go through. C for things that you want to throw away and that therefore immediately belong in the trash. Now I propose to add another heap to the system: namely D for papers and things that you want to sell. Selling is also a psychological trick: we only keep a lot of things because they are too good to throw away. If we can monetize them, it will be much easier for us to separate. And this is exactly where the smartphone helps to save time.

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Selling as a psychological trick

The best known option is Ebay - also the one with the greatest reach. But the effort to click through the various options on Ebay is immense - especially on small screens. Over time, Ebay has made it easier to post articles. Nevertheless: When I think of Ebay, I no longer feel like selling something.

I prefer to dispose of items elsewhere, by giving them away, donating or throwing them away. This is quick and - to be honest - the earning opportunities on Ebay, apart from technical devices, are rather poor. Various parcel carriers are those who make good money from it. It is hardly worth putting things down and taking them to the post office.

Simplify your mind

In fact, over time there have been - and still are - a number of apps and services that should and should make it easier to lend, give away or sell unnecessary things. However, no service was long enough to break the magical hurdle in user numbers. The crux of the matter is often the limited reach, through which the own offer is usually accessible to a comparatively small community with members who are represented locally locally.

The approaches were often good, for example the now liquidated Stuffle app - a combination of words from Stuff and Sale - that helped get rid of things quickly and for cash. Your advantage was that all the things that make Ebay so daunting were omitted here: the setting including the photo is only two clicks away. And the annoying sending does not apply because you offer the thing like at the flea market around the corner - the location-based service of smartphones sends its regards. PR specialist Markus Mayr described it like this at the time:

“Rummage: This is probably the best thing that a flea market has to offer. And that is now also available digitally. Like right now? Ever heard of Ebay? OK, Ebay and consorts have been around for a while. But it couldn't be much easier than stuffing - buying and selling, browsing around the corner. And that is exactly Stuffle's strength: the "around the corner". Because the app shows - based on the localization function of the smartphone - offers from the area, broken down by distance (1 km, 3 km, 5 km, etc.). ”

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And social media expert Nico Kirch also extensively tested the app. His conclusion sounded as if he had found the Simplify-your-Life app par excellence: And like on the real flea market, it was even possible to trade!

“The app has a very limited range of functions, downright minimalistic. And that is exactly what excites me! Just browse quietly, no long descriptions and no categories that distract. Browse, find, negotiate, buy. The app does exactly what it was made for. Not more but also not less. I personally am thrilled! ”

5 tips to apply our thinking

These examples show that digitization and the application of our thinking can significantly simplify our life and the way we make order. The question now is: How do we adapt our old way of working to this new way of thinking? Here are some tips on how we can use all of our work, not just our smartphone, to simplify it considerably.

  1. eMails no longer sort: How many folders and labels for yours eMails have you? And how much time do you spend with that eMails to be sorted accordingly? And what does it do for you if you are really looking for a message? Just! I have found that I am for eMails Use the search function far more often than going through the relevant folders. So we can give ourselves the expense of sorting.
  2. Appify the desk: The disadvantage of paper documents is that there is no search function. Apart from that, the problem is similar to that of eMails: If you have too many folders, then you won't find anything. This can be remedied by electronically entering important information as soon as possible and otherwise throwing it away mercilessly. What does not help, however, is to set up several containers as a collecting basin for documents and sort them somehow.
  3. Appify the apartment: As a rule, there are too many unnecessary objects piled up in our apartments that only burden us. Now you can sort out what you no longer need, but you will still need some things. The solution is to combine functions as much as possible - for example, a multi-functional food processor instead of many different devices.
  4. Appify the computer screen: Previously, desktops were mainly sorted in menus and folders. On newer desktops, such as Windows 8, this is suddenly different and leads to general confusion. The annoying classification of programs in menus is no longer necessary. In Linux Unity, I now only use the search function to find a specific program. This is much easier and faster than creating an individual menu.
  5. Appify the Internet: At first that sounds absurd, since Internet applications are ideally already approved for mobile functions. In fact, it's more about our surfing habits: Instead of sorting bookmarks into folders, for example, you can use services like Delicious to find information that you find. And even when surfing the web itself, we should not proceed hierarchically, but rather be guided intuitively by the flow of information.

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