How Much Digital Tracking Is Too Much?

Words: Brindy Francis

We all track our lives through our devices, whether we know it or not. On iPhones, your footsteps are being calculated from the second you turn your phone on in the Health application. For a lot of people, our phones are what keep us productive, healthy and organised. We, again, track our walking distances, what we eat, to-do lists, grocery lists, and even our period cycles.

Applications have given us the ability to be the best versions of ourselves physically and productively, but there are pros and cons to relying on a database to measure your own “validity.” There are also other and possibly better ways to keep track of your actions.

Although it may be productive to keep yourself in check and keep track of your actions and events digitally, we don’t need technology to instruct/remind us to be advantageous and dynamic individuals.

For a lot of us, having the Notes application is probably one of the greatest and most useful invention of the decade, but the digital organisation ability had us lose a sense of connection as opposed to writing our lists, notes, and dreams with a pen and paper. According to journalist Dustin Wax, “As we’re writing, we create spatial relations between the various bits of information we are recording. Spatial tasks are handled by another part of the brain, and the act of linking the verbal information with the spatial relationship seems to filter out the less relevant or important information.” This is the magic of owning a planner and a journal.

It does seems like we have our physical tasks and health down pat with the help our gadgets, but something that our phones are not necessarily tracking is our mental health. It is contemporary knowledge that social media can damage our mental health without controlling it properly. A way of organisation that aids our mental health and helps us organise our thoughts is journaling, which is something that has been less apparent for a lot of people who spend their time composing their lives and browsing through feeds.

There are many profitable applications that give us some headspace, such as meditation, music, and journaling apps, but most of the time, the most clarifying and beneficial platforms are books, magazines, films, coffee shops, mountaintops or even our own bedrooms. As for organisational purposes, it’s helpful to have an Apple Watch to track our steps and a productivity app to make sure our tasks are being finished, but it’s important to find a middle ground between our gadgets and real life objects and finding what may work best for you.

Maybe a wall calendar will be more profitable to you. Plus, you may forget to back up your iCloud and might just lose it all.