I prefer simplicity for my social media tools

Sometime ago, I left Facebook. My Facebook friends were posting rubbish and I was, unfortunately, addicted to consuming rubbish. I no longer saw the need to connect to acquaintances through Facebook.

I focused on Twitter and reduced my followers from more than 2000 to less than 100 active users. I also started posting my thoughts in a concise manner. Twitter forces everyone to produce short content. There are many users who simply tweet useless sentences, so I actively unfollow them. I see Twitter as a way to broadcast my thoughts. Sadly, it is true that content on Twitter is seldom curated and the number of users seem to be falling.

I also questioned the use of social media. Social media is like a weak network of relationships that is used for gossip and showing off. To catch up with my friends in real life, I go back to simple tools like sms and Whatsapp. I love Whatsapp for its simplicity. It does nothing except facilitate exchange of information. Where anonymity is important, I use Telegram because I can initiate secured conversation: messages are deleted automatically.

I also love to read the views of strangers. Medium serves as the perfect platform where writers take blogging more seriously compared to their counterparts on Tumblr and Blogger. Most blogs are rather inactive. Some still swear by Wordpress. But Wordpress is too complicated. Ownership of your own URL is no longer necessary. We live in a world of systems within systems. Rather than owning their URL, grow your presence in Medium.

The need for curated content

Everyday, we read content from social media platforms. The quality on social media content is low because there are no editors to check for the accuracy of the content and for the correctness of the language. This is akin to consuming junk food. Junk food keeps us happy and we get addicted to junk food.

It’s time to use your time wisely. Focus on highly rated essays on Medium as a start. Subscribe to a good news service provider like Financial Times or the Economist. You can be surer about the content and the information is more trustworthy. Enhance your productivity this way.

Your life, the Toyota Way

Minimalism is trending. But the concepts are embedded in the Toyota system.

First, avoid overproduction. Do not overwork. Do not do or speak more than necessary.

Second, do not accumulate waste at home. Throw what you don’t need away and clean up your workspace.

Third, do not procrastinate. Take rest as often as you need. Lie in bed, clear your mind or meditate as you wish. But do not procrastinate.

Fourth, place everything in the right order. If you need to exercise, place your treadmill in the most visible area.

Fifth, think before you move. Where would you like to go? What would you like to accomplish? Plan ahead.

Sixth, do everything perfect the first time. Rework is waste.

Seventh, meet standards. Meet requirements. If you need a 30sqm home, do not buy something larger. If your client requested for a 5 course meal, deliver the perfect 5 course meal.

We can also use the 3M model. Muri: avoid overburdening your machines, workers and yourself. Muda: reduce waste as we have explained above. Mura: prefer consistency to uneven operations.

If we apply these principles to our lives, we would have achieved minimalism.

7 simple rules to de-clutter your life

1.Avoid owning a car: Car ownership is expensive in cities. Think about the parking fees, cost of petrol and the interest on loan

2.Aggressively getting rid of things: You only use 20% of the things in your room in any one time. So it is important to get rid of them to free up distractions in your life.

3.Reduce the number of hobbies: Hobbies take up time and increase the likelihood of expenditure. Do a few things exceedingly well.

4.Read from curated news sources: Avoid using social media as news feeds. You might prefer insights from Financial Times or the Economist

5.Do one time at a time. No one can effectively multitask

6.Adopt a minimalist mentality at home and keep less furniture. Avoid distraction. Keep spaces clean and open so you get to focus quickly on important things

7.Have as few electronic devices as possible. These days, the process of updating and upkeeping devices can get complex

Singapore’s innovation policy

While I believe there are occasions justifying government’s role in innovation policy, Singapore government’s intervention is not always as successful as their counterparts in the United States.

The US government rewards those who deliver results. But Singapore funds those who generically address societal challenges and often, well packaged promises.

In Singapore’s case, if we still want to believe in the effectiveness of research agencies like A*Star, we need to find a group of civil servants who are able to take risk and to be accountable for results and to be technology experts. As I understand, most civil servants in charge of innovation policies are neither technology experts nor risk takers.

Perhaps it is time for an alternative innovation policy.