Simplicity = Sanity
Technology has made our lives more full, yet at the same time we’ve become uncomfortably “full.”Iwatched the process whereby my daughters gleefully got their first email accounts. It began as a tiny drop—emails sent among themselves. It grew to a slow drip as their friends joined the flow of communication. Today it is a waterfall of messages, ecards, and hyperlinks that showers upon them daily.
I urge them to resist the temptation to check their email throughout the day. As adults, I tell them, they will have ample opportunity to swim in the ocean of information. “Stay away!” I warn, because even as an Olympic-class technologist, I find myself barely keeping afloat. I know that I’m not alone in this feeling of constantly drowning—many of us regularly engage (or don’t) in hundreds of email conversations a day. But I feel somewhat responsible.
My early computer art experiments led to the dynamic graphics common on websites today. You know what I’m talking about—all that stu½ flying around on the computer screen while you’re trying to concentrate—that’s me. I am partially to blame for the unrelenting stream of “eye candy” littering the information landscape. I am sorry, and for a long while I have wished to do something about it.
Achieving simplicity in the digital age became a personal mission, and a focus of my research at MIT. There, I straddle the fields of design, technology, and business as both educator and practitioner. Early in my ruminations I had the simple observation that the letters “M,” “I,” and “T”—the letters by which my university is known—occur in natural sequence in the word simplicity. In fact, the same can be said of the word complexity. Given that the “T” in M-I-T stands for “technology”— which is the very source of much of our feeling overwhelmed today—I felt doubly responsible that someone at MIT should take a lead in correcting the situation.
At Create we found this book indespensable when it comes to having a less clattered life. I would urge you to buy it and go through it in-depth..