Every time I read about a new Mac or iOS app in a category I use, I think to myself, “Oh, cool. That could save me some time and effort.” I download the app and try it out, but more often than not, I quickly conclude that my previous solution was just as good, and leave the new app sitting unused. From then on, whenever I see the app, I feel a vague, low-level anxiety. But still I accumulate more apps, and the cycle repeats.
I regularly fall into this trap, especially when it comes to new productivity or writing apps. Rumour of one new killer feature and I’m there, pressing the BUY button even though I know I have a dozen similar programs that have served me well. Most times I am disappointed although, very occasionally, a real gem slips through and I am rather glad to have been tempted. Eventually, though, most of these newcomers get shunted off into a purgatorial folder which will never again be visited.
The best bet is the nuclear option: Ruthlessly delete unused apps from devices so you are no longer presented with a choice. This cathartisis is good for the soul. It allows us to focus on what needs to be done rather than on how we do it. For me, the telling moment comes when I remember a particular app and want to try it again. It doesn’t happen often but, fortunately, the App Store is kind: Deleting an app from the device does not delete it from your store account. At any time you can go back and reinstall a discarded app if you have second thoughts.
Meanwhile, I have kept my desk clutter-free and focused on getting things done in the most efficient way. Along the way I became master of the few apps that have my blessing rather than a Jack of all apps.