After the last few weeks, you may have a pretty different app selection (or configuration) on your phone, tablet, or computer. What if it isn’t working out as well as you hoped, or as well as I said it would?

Change it up, of course!

Check out the Tidy ’24 Calendar if you need to catch up on anything, or you want to review.

Apps Week 4: Adapt Freely

I want to keep it simple this week and emphasize that everything we’re doing here is meant to help you gain control over your digital life, not just during Apps Month but throughout Tidy ’24.

Taming your data, as I often describe it, is an ongoing process you can continue as long as you need to. Our habits, requirements, goals, preferences, and technology continually evolve. What we prioritize right now might differ significantly from what we think is most important a year from now, or even next month.

In light of this, and because I’ve thrown a lot of potentially new and unfamiliar ideas at you over the last few months, I want to encourage you to adapt freely.

If you’ve made some changes recently as part of another week’s action steps, such as choosing certain apps to uninstall or disabling notifications, and you find that those changes are making things worse for some reason, fix it.

That could mean considering a different set of changes, or a different approach to that particular problem, or even going back to what you were doing before. Don’t keep doing something that doesn’t work for you, especially just because I said it was a good idea.

Instead, see if you can identify why something isn’t working for you. Is it complicated? Is it boring? Is it unrewarding? Does it take too much time? Does it simply not do what you hoped it would? Each of these issues highlights something that can help you find a better alternative. And by all means, let me know! I want to know what makes this process hard for you so I can find better solutions.

Change course whenever you find that something is not moving you toward your goals.

For example, I like having everything I regularly deal with stored or managed electronically. My calendar, my to-do list, my notes, my books, my old school records, my pictures, my work…everything. Many of you undoubtedly don’t take this approach either as far as I do, or at all.

Or maybe you’re someone who does well putting all of your tasks right on a calendar at specific times instead of just having a list to work from. Even though that feels too constricted to me, it may give you the time-limited focus you need to accomplish those tasks.

Because my recommendations come from a place of preferring digital solutions–sometimes particular ones–sometimes I miss ways they might fall short for people who operate differently. I try to think about this and point out alternatives when I can, but it doesn’t always work.

This is why I want you to feel free and even seek ways to modify what I’ve said and what you’ve tried whenever you notice friction–when you’re trying to accomplish something, and you feel like the method isn’t helping you move in the right direction.

Action Steps

  1. Look for something that isn’t working for you as well as you hoped.
  2. Think about why, what it is about that method or process that isn’t a good fit for you, and change it. Try something different. Make it simpler, give yourself a time limit, put it on a calendar, or promise yourself a little reward. Whatever might shift things in the right direction.

Remember, digital organization is an ongoing process. Even I change things up regularly—sometimes little things, sometimes big ones. Practice making those changes anytime you notice room for improvement.

And if you aren’t sure what to change, let me know! I want to figure this out with you. It’ll help us both.

How Does This Help?

Intentionally looking for areas to improve helps you avoid falling into a rut. It’s easy to keep doing something you’re already doing; that’s the definition of inertia. Changing course is hard, even if it’s a change for the better. And with all the changes I’ve recommended in Tidy ’24, you might be even more likely to resist another one immediately. You should always feel free to modify your current behavior or habits if something isn’t working.

Who Does This Help?

This exercise is likely most helpful for someone who has either not changed anything for a long time or has recently changed many things. If you haven’t evaluated how things are going and what’s actually working (or not), those are two perfect times to do so.

Who Does This NOT Help?

Honestly, a periodic review of how well your behaviors are bringing you toward your goals has the potential to help basically everybody. Even if you don’t find anything you want to change, you will at least have determined that you’re on the best possible course.

Quick Review

For week 4, your task is to adapt freely. Look for anything that isn’t working as well as you hoped, then think about why and try something to fix it. If you need help fixing it, reply to this email and let me know! I’ll be more than happy to figure something out with you.

Happy data-taming!

If you’re not already subscribed, make sure to join the weekly newsletter email list with the simple form below. You can also bookmark the Tidy ’24 Calendar page for a master list of every currently published Tidy ’24 topic.

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Ready to get your data under control? You can do it!