I banned mobile devices from my bedroom over a year ago after I learned that Arianna Huffington does too. I highly recommend that you try this – there’s absolutely nothing in your social media environments, on demand media services or work email that you need to tap around in your pajamas after 10 pm every night. If Arianna can do without, so can you.
Be aware, however, that there are some great challenges to be solved. The most difficult of these is the classic question: how to wake up on time in the morning? With an alarm clock, you say. And I say you’re in for a rude awakening. I learned this when I my old alarm clock recently broke down and I needed to buy a new one.
One of the great things about a mobile device is that you can switch the screen on and off. When it is dark, there’s no light. Just black. However, you can easily light up the screen for a while. I don’t know about you, but I need to know what time it is if I wake up in the middle of the night.
Modern digital alarm clocks, on the other hand, usually have a rather bright light that is on all the time. And if you turn the screen to face the wall, you can’t see what time it is. Analog clocks rarely have a light of any kind and fluorescent painted numbers and hands only gleam for a while after dark.
However, the worst drawback of the current variety of alarm clocks is that they are overwhelmed with features. There’s inside and outside weather info, date, world clock, voice control and whatnot. You can wake up to gradually increasing light, or to the sound of birds, waterfalls, shotguns or your favourite MP3. Once you manage to open your eyes, you get to enjoy flying objects, a clock that beeps and escapes you on wheels or an on screen private show. Yes, really.
Some features leave me even more baffled. For example, many of these feature-packed alarm clocks have a very short micro-USB cable as their main power source. Where is one supposed to plug it in a bedroom? Even a combination of a beauty mirror and an alarm clock is available. Who wants to face their gray, miserable self in the mirror first thing in the morning?
I started thinking how this one product reflects a larger phenomenon. We’re living in a culture of over-featuring in more general terms. Product and service providers across industries and market areas try to drown their clients with “value added” features while in truth they’re making their clients’ life more confusing. We pack and combine endless features into products and services because we can. It is a lot easier to keep adding than to make smart choices of cutting back.
We see this in corporate communications as well. The greatest challenge is finding the smallest common denominators that form and develop further the identity and culture of an organization.
To start de-cluttering your product, service, core message or just about anything, I recommend that you look into some of the methods described in a great book by Drew Boyd and Jacob Goldenberg, Inside the box. If you need helping hands to clear unnecessary bulk from your communications, do not hesitate to contact me.
Last but not least, please share any info you have on where to buy basic, nice-looking alarm clocks. Please.