I have this love/hate relationship with technology. I had a TI-99 in the early 80’s. Loved it for a while but then in school we worked on Apple IIC’s and the Enhanced Apple II E’s. Then It was IBM 386… and the list continued. Each one promised great things. They delivered for a short while. Now it is the iPad and iPhone, and Android based machines. Each one with great claims and limited delivery. Oh yes, then there are the applications. There is an App for about everything. I love them. I hate them. It continues!
No App can really deliver what I need. What is that you might ask? I would answer…Peace. Maybe a better word in our world is Margin. You know, the space between stuff. There are formulas for newspapers and books. Enough white space so the eyes are not overwhelmed. Life is like that too. We are great at adding one more detail, one more sport, one more book on the shelf, one more thing to have to manage or worry about, to our lives. When was the last time we took something away every time we added something? I usually buy more bookshelves or double stack the books!
There are apps that will help me manage my time, my notes, my inventory but they will not create the margin I need.
So I must ask myself, is life without margin worth it? Is there any real downtime in my life, or my family’s lives?
What then can I do about it, you might ask?
First, remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. Wish I’d have coined that phrase. Sounds like a line from the Bible right? Ok, it is. God built into the lives of ancient Israel a weekly reminder. Then every seven years was a year of rest. Then every 50 years! Debts were cancelled. Built in margin. Life is good with margin. Not so good without it! Don’t know that I’ll write the word “sabbath” in my schedule, but I should put something down to save that space! I dare you to create some margin.
Second, unplug. This point is extremely uncomfortable for most of us. Listen for it. Silence. It is just not there any more. If you are a church goer listen the next time the person leading says, “lets have a moment of silence.” It probably won’t last more than 10 or 20 seconds. Time it. I dare you. You can always give that 20 seconds back to God on the way home. Just shut off the radio for a minute. If we are always bombarded with media then we have little time to actually process the good from the bad. Or let the good really take hold of us. Unplug.
Third, and perhaps most painful for me…simplify. How much time do I spend just making sure my stuff is taken care of, or working properly. My iPad needs to be charged a certain way for the battery to last the longest. I think about that. My guitar has to be kept at a certain humidity level. I think about that. Those are just two things. I dare you to begin to really simplify. I had a professor one time tell me after he moved to a new house there was one box that remained packed for a year. He didn’t know what was in it. His wife asked what he wanted her to do with it. His response, “throw it away. If I haven’t needed it for a year and I can’t remember what is even in it, I don’t need it.” I cannot even imagine doing that!
There are app’s for a lot of things. Some may help with these three issues, maybe. But odds are you can begin doing these things without a new app. Think about it: Margin; Unplug; Simplify.
Which is the hardest for you? I’d love to hear.