This one is more of a whole-life challenge, but here it is: minimize tech-confusion by minimizing tech.

Have twenty different chargers floating around somewhere and still can’t find the one that fits the device in your hand?  What does that device do that is so special it deserves it’s own charger, anyway?  

Likely, the device does this magical thing where it exists, just like it existed yesterday, and change is evil.  New and better has come out, and little quirks have started to crop up in the old thing, but it’s ok.  The crack at the bottom doesn’t effect how it works, and for the past couple of years that device has been your friend.  You don’t just toss a friend.

That’s true.  So put down the tech and get a friend that can breathe, but that’s a different article altogether.

You can toss tech.  You should.  You need to.  It’s getting ridiculous and even you know that.  There are places to recycle or donate items that still have use, and if you don’t have a kid in your family who might benefit from a brand-new-factory-wiped-three-year-old-phone, someone in the office does.  You only own stuff if you are in control of the stuff and the stuff is benefiting you.  Otherwise, the stuff owns you.

Ever heard of the “Rotato?”  It’s a combination of the words “rotate” and “potato” used to describe a rotary motor attached to a skewer with an adjustable blade-arm that works to peal potatoes or apples, and only potatoes or apples, for the low, low price of just $29.95.  That’s it, and it takes up about as much space as a blender on the counter despite it’s very specific and limited purpose.  I know this because someone bought me one of these lovely items, and it was a huge learning experience for me.  It was the first time I allowed myself to just be honest instead of self-sacrificingly gracious.  I could flatter the ugly Christmas sweater, but I would not aqueous my limited kitchen real estate to the “Rotato” to be nice.  We returned that little gem.

Every time you pick up a piece of personal tech, as yourself the following questions:
Do I even need this?  (Always start there.)
What does this do, and is there anything else I use that could also do that?
Out of the things I use regularly, can I get down to the smallest number of items that meet all the needs and still share a charger?

I no longer have a laptop because my iPad talks to my computer talks to my phone.  I got rid of cable and just have an Apple TV because now all of the other tech can talk to the TV, too.  And we keep chargers strategically plugged in around the house in areas where we use tech because all of it uses the same chargers.  I have greater technological freedom and can do more, and I have less stuff in my bag.  Best of both worlds.  In order to make this magic possible, I had to switch to a nicer home computer, but when that is the one piece that makes everything else work, it’s actually cheaper to make the strategic upgrade then to continue trying to buy new chargers and adapters to get everything to cooperate to whatever extent that’s even possible with proprietary software.  

Work tech is actually more likely to suffer from this problem because it’s so expensive.  Companies will wire things together that have no business being wired together just to buy a little more time on older equipment when a strategic upgrade would actually simplify everything.  Less stress, less mess, and the increased productivity pays for the new equipment.  No brainer.

I have a knife at a home, and it can peel potatoes, apples, and anything else I want peeled.  It can chop stuff, too.  There’s all these chef-words for the different ways it can chop stuff, and it is one small item that fits in one drawer.  No “Rotato” needed.

You have stuff you don’t need, it owns you because you are afraid to get rid of it, and in addition to stressing you out while you look for the right patch to get machine A to talk to machine Purple, it’s not sustainable.  And where in the 10,000 wires is the problem?  It’s right there in the plan—that part that says lets keep the old tech forever.  Looking at it that way, most of the 10,000 wires are the problem because they shouldn’t be there in the first place.

But change is evil.  I remember.  Right.  Did you find your charger?  No, the other one…

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