How to Use Tech with Intention

Don’t Let Reviews Pick Your Personal Tech Stack

Have you ever considered why you use a particular piece of tech – tool or platform – in your life?

Maybe it’s a work requirement and you had no choice.

Perhaps you saw an ad online and it looked interesting.

Or maybe there was social pressure – “My friends are on __________.”

What if you chose your personal technology – the online tools you use all the time – as carefully as you choose an avocado or melon at the grocery store?

Why Reviews Aren’t the Best Guide to the Best Personal Tech

Most of us read the reviews, especially the bad ones.

But many of us (me included) take the recommendation of only one trusted friend before we download. If it works for us, even partially, we will quickly be so habituated (by design) that we’re loath to dump it.

More savvy companies build their “tech stack” with keen intent and deliberation. Each tech piece is evaluated for:

  • The function it performs
  • How well it satisfies the goal at the price
  • How well it integrates with other tools
  • If it can replace less capable tools
  • How fast it can be up and running

Rethink to Reduce Overwhelm

I’d bet money that if more of us applied the same thinking to the “personal tech stacks” on our devices, we’d:

  • Spend less time on-screen
  • Clear out a lot of digital clutter
  • Be more organized
  • Feel less digital overload

Questions to Evaluate Your Personal Tech Stack

Our personal tech stack evaluation might look like this:

  • Does this tech support my personal goals and values?
  • Is it the best support possible?
  • Does it connect me with an interest in the best way possible?
  • Can I find this info/tool again if I need it?
  • If I shift time to this app/platform, where do I shift the time from?
  • Do I really want to spend more time on my [device] with this tech?

I ran Facebook through this kind of evaluation in the summer of 2020. Disgusted by the political rants, I realized FB did a poor job of supporting my goal of “staying connected to friends.”

What You See Is Not Always What You Get

That’s because the people most active in my feed were not the people I cared most about.

FB was sucking a lot of time from reading, creative pursuits and home renovation projects. Deleting the app from all my devices quickly became a no-brainer.

I’m reluctant now to spend much time on any platform or app. I’m still quick to try new tools, but more ruthless more quickly about whether I keep them.

Join me in some spring cleaning?

3 Resources for You: Tips for Digital Spring Cleaning

Books, articles, tips, tools and advice to help you unplug.

2 Questions for You: Considering Intentional Tech

Reflections, questions and ideas to consider to break the digital impasse.

1st Q: How intentional are you about your personal tech?

2nd Q: Are you ready for a digital cleanup?

Hit reply and let me know what you discovered this week. I’ll use some of your feedback in next week’s Field Notes (first name only.)

Reflection Feedback

From Michelle: (on a nature-positive life)

Your questions gave me goosebumps!

How deep is my bond to nature?

Incredibly deep. Respecting the natural ecosystem and my role and responsibility within it is part of my value system. I get emotional when I see or hear of situations where the natural world is disrespected and damaged, even when they are tiny transgressions.

Is my sense of self and community bound to the place where I live?

Currently no, and it’s creating a huge amount of friction because my location and the culture of the place in which I currently live is not in alignment with my values and beliefs, so I’m feeling disconnected. On the flip side, although I don’t have plans to move back there, I most definitely feel like my sense of self and place is inextricably bound to the country of my birth, which has some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the world! I grew up around rugged mountains, close to the sea and vast empty beaches and those types of locations are my happy places.

1 Action for You: Apply the 10% Rule

One small step to start the change.

I came up with the 10% Rule for myself when sorting books to give away. (Book lovers will understand.) I told myself I only had to release one of every 10 books. Inevitably, I found more books I no longer wanted.

Action: What one in 10 apps/platforms can you let go this week?

Nature View

When you do something noble and beautiful and nobody noticed, do not be sad. For the sun every morning is a beautiful spectacle and yet most of the audience still sleeps. ~John Lennon