archive everything!

Summary

Archived everything in my inbox. It's awesome. Continues my general trend of simplifying. Logging off websites, only checking the news for brief periods, and focusing on a core set of hobbies. Eliminating distractions and reducing information overload are doing wonders to fight off stress and keep me humming along.

Archived everything in my inbox. It's awesome. Continues my general trend of simplifying. Logging off websites, only checking the news for brief periods, and focusing on a core set of hobbies. Eliminating distractions and reducing information overload are doing wonders to fight off stress and keep me humming along.

This attitude has extended to emails. Used to be quite wordy, e.g. sending emails to professors highlighting specific papers of theirs I had read among other things. Same goes for responses to people for meetings, conversations, etc. This was time consuming both for me and the recipient. If you start writing more than three paragraphs, Skype with the person. Or call them. Or setup a meeting.

Like many other college students, I had an obnoxious three line email signature. I have done away with this. One line, three essential things. What can I say, I like the number.

_______
biafra ahanonu | stanford bio | website

This succinct signature eliminates clutter, gets straight to the point and is less formal. Meeting with a professor recently, they asked about stuff from the website (specifically my scientific background). This was great feedback—if someone actually cares, they'll search for the requisite information. Putting a cacophony of text helps no one—who really cares about Class of 20xx? or that you were part of the Dept. of Blah. People hate reading.

The layout of this website furthers that desire. A lot of white space, a paucity of colors and few distractions (no ads or other things screaming for users attention). While there is a place for cluttered design, rainbows on a screen and an online version of a Mexican street market, I don't believe this is the place.

With task list, instead of having multiple list for school, work, meetings, chores, etc. simplify it to three lists: Urgent, Important and NoGo. Urgent tasks should be completed promptly. Important tasks have a more flexible deadline, but still must be done. NoGo tasks are just distractions, don't do these.

When using the computer, if you have ten programs open each with multiple windows, chances are you aren't using everything. Make a temporary task list and close those programs! You'll be faster, as will the computer, and less stressed trying to 'multi-task', which no one actually does. Gone are my days of 100+ tabs open in Opera—that now only occurs with literature, product or other reviews.

If your mind always feels stressed and it seems like there are a million things to do, take a moment to simplify, simplify, simplify. It is likely that you have accumulated many side-projects that are only superficially helping you or those who you're doing the task for. Take a Saturday or Sunday afternoon to evaluate what you find most important. You'll quickly realize how much stress and inefficiency is caused by diversions.

Archive everything and start over. It's a great feeling.

Or listen to this trance mix.

-biafra
bahanonu [at] alum.mit.edu

©2006-2017 | biafra ahanonu | updated 12 december 2017
biafra ahanonu