Fewer of more

I’d like to have fewer of more things. Does that make sense? Right now I have five of everything and it’s driving me nuts.

I know, I know, I’m the type of person who likes to try different things; to have options, but that may be changing. At least it feels like it’s changing. It could very well be just another short-lived mood, but I’m tired of making decisions.

Here are some of the things I’m working on having fewer of.

Software. I use way too many apps. They overlap in various ways that make it impossible to decide which to use for what. I switch between them and then need to “refactor my workflow” on a monthly basis. As fun as it is to play with software, my state of mind is telling me to cut back.

How do I do that? By using Emacs. When I’m in the mood for easy/pointy/clicky software, I try quitting Emacs. Doing so requires that I find apps to replace all the things that Emacs had been doing, and I’m back in the 3-apps-for-each-task conundrum. So now I’m using Emacs and Org-mode for everything that makes sense.

Using Emacs eliminates the need to decide between the following:

  • Things or OmniFocus for tasks
  • Tinderbox or Apple Notes or TheBrain or DEVONthink or Bear or Ulysses for notes
  • Timings or Timular for time tracking
  • BBEdit or VSCode or Vim for text editing
  • Mail.app or MailMate for email
  • TiddlyWiki or TheBrain or Tinderbox or DEVONthink for project/client notes

And so on.

Notebooks. I love paper notebooks, but deciding which to carry or use is debilitating. I’m down to three: A Field Notes pocket notebook for away-from-computer capture, A Leuchtturm for my version of Bullet Journal, and a Hobonich Techo for calendar and date-based stuff. Yes, that’s still three notebooks but it’s down from five or six. I’ll miss the Midori and the Rotterfaden but I have to stop trying to use them all at once.

Cameras. Admit it, there’s no way I’m going to stop using a bunch of different cameras. I don’t know how to addres this yet, but I spend way too much time organizing cameras and bags to get my “kit” just right.

The smartest move would be Leica M6 for everyday film, Fuji X-T3 for digital, and the Hasselblad for “serious” work. But then the beautiful Leica M4 shows up and what about the big Speed Graphic? And that Leica Q is amazing. Still thinking about this one.

Clothing. My least favorite thing is picking out an “outfit” to wear. I don’t think I could pull of a Jobsian uniform, but I’d like to not spend 15 minutes wondering what goes with what today. I’m working on getting my wardrobe down to a few types of things, all in simple colors that work together. Not there yet.

Devices. There’s no way I need all of the computers/tablets/phones I have. Two iPads? Two laptops? Two iMacs?. C’mon. This should be easy, but I love the iPad mini for most things, but the big iPad Pro is great for watching shows and doodling with a Pencil. And I’m sure I can find a good use for that “extra” iMac. I don’t need it, but there it sits, taking up my bandwidth.

Blogs. I’ve been getting better at this, but still have too much/many blogs. I want only one or two so I don’t have to think about where to post what.

Photo Sharing. I post photos to Flickr, SmugMug, Instagram, Coping Mechanism, Micro.blog, and Baty.net. That’s nuts. I would like to pick one for my photo gallery “home” and one for social sharing. Can’t decide, and it’s crazy-making.

I could probably call all of this an attempt at “Minimalism” but I stopped using that word once it had been usurped by so-called “Productivity Gurus” and “Life Coaches”. Blech, time for a new word.

Anyway, the gist is that I want to significantly reduce the number and types of decisions I have to make every day.