As we continue adopting new digital services and embracing new technologies, our [digital] lives gain more and more complexity. Everything we use gathers data, stores the content produced with it, and, in many cases, learns from the way we behave.
Information, content, reports, and other kind of media conforms a big compound of data, which is often difficult to manage.
How are we expected to handle this situation? How are we supposed to properly manage systems that were not even invented when we were educated? And even worse, how is people expected to teach us about things they have never used? I firmly believe that this will affect our generation, too. We feel like we have the situation under control; just give it a few years until new services, new technologies, and new things are released.
Digital tidiness should be a subject at school. Everyone needs to be able to correctly manage digital clutter.
But there are surely ways to work that may ease the pain. Defined workflows can be implemented in our use of digital systems. The same way we use workflows in our daily tasks outside the digital realm to tackle everyday problems, we can use them in the digital world.
The process you follow when you bring new things into your room: arranging your belongings and your clothes; trashing out old stuff you no longer need, is, for instance, a workflow implemented in your life.
With the same ease digital services allow us to store and manage our data, they become a mess of unmanageable things.
Digital tidiness should be a subject at school. Everyone needs to be able to correctly manage digital clutter, as everyone needs to know how to arrange their clothes, to keep physical documents in place, or to find their belongings when needed.
Every once in a while, I find myself arranging clothes or belongings and giving away things I do not want anymore—archiving and deleting, basically. At times, stuff is just too much to be handled, or there is no time to invest on the task.
The amount of data produced should be limited according to how much can be processed and stored.
The same problem exists in electronic devices and digital storage system. When we produce more content than we process, we are leaving behind a lot of things that would have to be done in the future. For that reason, apart from organizing all our data, we need to be conscious of how much stuff we can handle. The amount of data produced should be limited according to how much can be processed and stored.
One concrete example is taking digital pictures. Thanks to flash-memory-powered SLR cameras, giga-sized internal capacities of our portable devices, and on-the-go cloud storage services, pictures and videos can be taken daily with no limits. The problem is, these instant task will later take an enormous quantity of digital space and an immeasurable amount of time to process and organize.
Workflows can help reducing the processing and organization time, but awareness of how much is produced is equally or even more important than post-processing. Do you really need to take that picture? Maybe not.