Feature Bloat

"She's learning the spaces she leaves have their own things to say" - Ani DiFranco

No matter the size of the time gap, I've got it covered. Audiobooks on my cycle to work, podcasts while I'm doing housework, Twitter and mobile browsing whenever I feel like it, and an ebook to read or a game to play when I'm waiting for lunch. It's pretty amazing: I can effortlessly ensure I have no time during the day to think.

In software design, too many features can distract from the core purpose of an application. It's called feature bloat. Software companies like Apple and 37Signals are finding huge success by knowing what to leave out. Applications like WriteRoom (and DarkRoom) are popular precisely because of the features they lack.

It's a mindful trade-off between potenital ability and directed focus.

For the last few weeks I've had a rotten flu. Constant headaches and an ear infection stopped my usual information consumption. By the time I was on the mend, the habit was broken.

My mind cleared from the flu. I started to think.

One night I sat on the kitchen bench for maybe an hour, remembering our completely unplanned week-long honeymoon drive around the Western Australian south coast. On the way to work I started thinking about side-projects I wanted to start, getting completely lost in my imagination.

I'm not going to completely disconnect: I get a huge amount of joy out of the infomation I consume. But it's clear to me that I'm missing the space to use what I learn effectively. I'm missing the space to think for myself.

So I'm turning off features that I thought I needed, but never really used. Unscubscribing from podcasts, unfollowing on Twitter. But most of all, I'm creating time where there are no distractions and nothing to do. But think.

comments powered by Disqus