Free Yourself From “annoying Information” in Your Life

The numbers and icons displayed on the screens of our device are for use; they tell us how much charge is left, how many unread messages we have, and when we need to update something. But more often than not, these data just bore us, constantly nudging us like babies who want their mother’s attention. It should not be.

Sounds familiar? You are away from home and go to check your phone when you notice that your phone’s battery percentage is getting low. You forgot to charge it last night, so it hovers around 40%. An hour later it’s 33%, then 24%, and before you know it, only 11%. You are just trying to enjoy your day, but deep down in your soul, you constantly hear a low voice saying, “Your phone battery is low. Go charge … “

This form of distraction is fairly common for most of us, which is why Mashable’s Damon Beres suggests that you simply stop showing your battery percentage . He claims that while it seems logical to include it, it really doesn’t help you that much in the long run. The battery icon is clear enough and all numbers indicate an alarm countdown. It seems to be constantly demanding your attention, which is why Beres calls it “annoying data.” Yes, this is information, but it only drives you crazy. After all, you either have a charger or you don’t.

I liked this concept and tried it (so far so good), but I couldn’t help but wonder what other types of annoying data could be removed from my life. It all started with my phone. I turned on automatic updates so that the bright red badge on the App Store badge would stop bothering me with patches. Then I turned off red badges and notifications for things I didn’t really care about, like Facebook and others. If there is anything more worrying inducing than a countdown, it is counting the things I have to read, check, or do. The fact that I was not bothered by this data was a relief, albeit a minor one. But hey, victory is victory.

Soon, I was looking for ways to get rid of annoying data all over the place, from my computer to my Playstation 4. I turned off pop-up notifications for things that didn’t need them (why would I know that someone on my friends list joined someone’s voice chat?), I’ve uninstalled dozens of old apps and games desperate for my attention, and have done everything I can to make the use of my devices a source of relief, problem-solving, not worry. In a way, I’ve forgotten that phones, laptops, and other similar devices are just tools, not new gods to whom we owe our loyalty.

I urge you to do the same. Find intrusive data in your life and cut it out. Start with your phone and then move on to other devices: tablet, laptop, car, thermostat, etc. Ask yourself, “Is this information helpful to me?” If not, then it’s not data, it’s just annoyance.


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