Application Overkill

twitterDear Servant Leader,

“But Godliness with contentment is great gain.” I Timothy 6:6

If there is one thing I love about my iPhone it is having the world at my fingertips. I can find any location and get detailed directions including map, satellite, hybrid or street level 360° view. I can check on and update my emails, website, blog, twitter, Facebook, Vlingo… do some banking… catch up on local, state, national, world news and/or weather from any number of domestic or foreign sources… access almost unlimited commentaries and articles… listen to a favorite song, watch an amazing leadership video on iTunes or live streaming video of my favorite sporting events (not that I would ever do such things while working, driving, etc!)… make a payment on my son’s college account, play an old school video game, watch a movie, etc, etc.  My latest application is voice command Google search. I have had it for a little while now and just love the hand’s free fun. I say what I want and seconds later, instant info! No doubt you have some favorite apps of your own! With so many possibilities, who could ask for more? Not me.

Every couple of weeks it isn’t about what else my phone can do to make my life more manageable and efficient. No, it’s about what LESS it can do. I have set three home screens as my limit (48 apps not including my main four – phone, email, twitter and iPod) and admit this is a rather gratuitous example of application overkill at that. What I find myself doing as my phone automatically reminds me to update the latest version of my favorite applications is to hold down my magic black home button and then delete, delete, delete. This is almost as fun as popping bubble wrap! In no time my phone seems cleaner, neater, even lighter. Back to basics. It just feels right. I might even take the time to actually use the phone application and call an old friend. Wow! What a concept… my phone makes phone calls! Who knew?

Over time even those things we have accessed to make our lives easier somehow serve to complicate them. How? Simply by their addition. Sure, they may serve a particular purpose for a moment. However, once serving their limited purpose they are just there. Most of the time they just sit there. Still, sometimes they incessantly beg our attention and, because they exist, tempt us to press buttons that don’t really need pressed and add more time consuming stuff to already busy days.

The leader lesson is this – resist application overkill. It’s that old tried and true “Less is More” principle beckoning us to simplicity. Having done so I often find that I have more time than I thought. Here’s a thought – maybe everyone in the family room or at staff meeting can put down their phones and just talk to the people who are actually in the same room? A “no-tech” rule might just be in order around the dinner and lead team tables. Now that’s radical relationship-building! Why, on a personal level, I might even use one of the Bible apps to get lost in the pages of God’s Word for a while, maybe  forward a choice verse to a loved-one for encouragement. The possibilities for precious time with the Lord are truly unlimited!

Do you need to downsize as a leader? Could you use to hit the delete button a few times? Have your recent additions served only to increase the scope of responsibility for you, your family or lead team? Here’s a thought for all of us as leaders, maybe we could stop pressing so many buttons and just relax in the Lord for a few moments, maybe even for a while? Admittedly, I have always struggled mightily with this. Still, who knows what good God can do in and through a less downloaded, less distracted leader. Could it be that by being “out of the loop” sometimes we might just get a little more in God’s loop? Call it a little less Facebook time and a little more face-time. Until they come up with an app that can do prayer for us, there’s only one way to find out… 

Pressing fewer buttons,


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