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The 9 Surprising Drawbacks of Relying Solely on Digital Organisation Tools

WRITTEN by CHRISSY, LAST UPDATED ON May 5, 2024

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Beware! Technology can work against you as well as being a necessity. Here are the 9 most eye opening drawbacks of digital tools, and what to do about them.

The 9 Surprising Drawbacks of Relying Solely on Digital Organisation Tools

In today’s digital age, the use of tech tools to help with organisation has become increasingly popular (and necessary, to be honest!).

From to-do lists and calendars to project management software and note-taking apps, there seems to be a tool for sorting out every aspect of our lives.

In fact, I use spreadsheets for my day to day schedule and TO DO list, my phone for alarms, and several apps to track my fitness and health – to name just a few…

And while these digital tools have definitely made it easier than ever to keep track of all those tasks and ideas – relying solely on digital tools should actually come with a warning.

They may not be the be-all-end-all as we currently think of them to be.

In fact, digital tools can have several drawbacks that can negatively impact both our productivity and mental well-being.

Let’s look at what they are right now – so you can check whether any of them are becoming an issue for you.

When you can see any problems arising you can do something about them – and that’s a very empowering place to be…

#1 – Overwhelming Amount of Options

With the rise in demand for organisation tools, there’s been a surge in the number of options available in the market.

From free to paid versions, it can be overwhelming and time-consuming to research and find the right tool that meets our specific needs.

I’ve personally found myself looking for days to find the perfect way to manage my business, for example, only to actually come back to my tried and tested spreadsheets. Although this worked well for me, the fear I was missing out on something better was far too much to overlook…

Not only that, but the fact that there are so many to go through can also lead to decision fatigue, making it difficult to make a choice at all.

If you don’t already have a solution that works for you, like me, then you may well be stuck without knowing what’s best – and that can be a real issue.

Possible Fix: Get recommendations from people who have gone before you, and that you trust. Try and find like-minded people as then the solutions they’ve found will more likely work well for you too. Pick their brains on what they like about what they’ve chosen, and take it from there. Much better than starting from scratch!

#2 – Limited Customisation

While most digital organisation tools offer a certain amount of customisation options, they’re often limited compared to traditional pen-and-paper methods.

This again is one reason I always tend to go back to pen and paper when I’m brainstorming and strategising – I can let the pen take me where I want to go rather than being contained by whatever app features I’ve chosen to work with.

Possible Fix: Look around for more customisable options, and also look at the free v.s paid options because a lot of the time the paid for options will be more flexible. Truth is though, sometimes more choice is a bad thing as you get sidetracked by them – so make sure you’re also hitting the right balance between what you need and what you want.

#3 – Dependency on Technology

As much as digital tools make our lives easier, they also make us heavily dependent on technology.

If a technical issue arises or if we lose access to our device, it can leave us feeling helpless and disorganised.

Possible Fix: Make sure you choose options that can be accessed without internet access. Keep it current by backing up daily (at a minimum), and ask about how much downtime certain sites or apps have before you choose one.

#4 – Difficulty in Synchronisation

Using multiple digital organisation tools can result in difficulty syncing them together, leading to confusion and missed tasks.

This is especially true for those who use different devices, such as a phone, laptop, and tablet.

The easiest example of this is if you choose all apple devices, but then opt for one thing that’s not.

A recent issue arose with my dad when he decided (on my advice) to go for a Kindle Fire instead of his iPad.

He is SO pleased with the swap as it’s perfect for what he needs, and more cost effective – but he wanted to keep his iCloud eMail, and as such it was a huge headache to set this up on a non Apple device.

Possible Fix: Stick with one brand, and make sure you’re happy with all options before you start on that brand. Think of the future as well. Or, if you really want to chop and change brands – make sure you have enough tech know-how to not get frustrated by making your setup work.

#5 – Risk of Data Loss

With digital tools, there is always a risk of losing data due to technical issues or server crashes.

This can be really annoying at best, and highly detrimental at worst – especially when important information or deadlines are stored solely in these tools.

Possible Fix: Backup everything! And regularly check that your backups are working OK. We have set up our mobile phones so that any picture we take on them are copied to the cloud, and each month we go through them and delete any we don’t want to keep. That way, when anyone loses or damages their phone – they haven’t lost all those memories as well…

#6 – Distractions and Multitasking

Digital organisation tools often come with notifications and alerts, which can easily distract us from the task at hand.

This constant multitasking can hinder our productivity. I know I hate to be distracted when I’m in the middle of anything that I need to focus on.

Possible Fix: Simple, but often forgotten. Turn off all notifications on your phone and laptop so you don’t get those distractions. Make a regular time to check your eMail or social media, and then leave it alone. Honestly – everything can wait!

#7 – Lack of Tangibility

Unlike traditional pen-and-paper methods, digital organisation tools lack tangibility.

This can lead to a disconnect between our actions and the consequences of those actions, making it easier to overlook tasks or deadlines.

I read somewhere that the act of writing things down on paper has a direct link to your brain that typing it into a tech device doesn’t. That’s why revising on paper and pen, or doing any thoughtful work is better achieved with a pen!

Possible Fix: Use apps and tech for keeping you organised – but pen and paper for things that you need to think about. A mix may well be best for you.

#8 – Decreased Creativity

Studies have shown that writing by hand stimulates the brain and encourages creativity.

Relying solely on digital tools for note-taking or brainstorming may limit our ability to think outside the box and come up with innovative ideas.

Possible Fix: Always brainstorm and have some pen and paper time each week – to let your brain work differently than if you were looking at a screen. You never know what you might come up with!

#9 – Potential Security Breaches

With the increasing threat of cyber attacks, storing sensitive information on digital organisation tools can put it at risk for security breaches.

This can have serious consequences, especially when it comes to confidential work-related data.

Possible Fix: Set up two layer logins on all tech items, use strong passwords (capitals, lower case, symbols and numbers) that are different for everything, and change passwords regularly. Always better to be safer up front than sorry when things get hacked…

The 9 Surprising Drawbacks of Relying Solely on Digital Organisation Tools

So, there you have it!

While digital organisation tools have their place, and definitely have a lot of benefits, I hope this has also made you think about relying solely on them going forward.

There ARE significant drawbacks to consider, and it’s important to strike a balance so you don’t become overly dependent on them.

I think that ideally everyone needs some combination of digital and traditional organisational methods – whatever mix works best for each person (as this will probably look different for each of us) may be the key to effectively managing our lives and achieving our goals.

I hope this has left you inspired to get more savvy, and make tech work for you, rather than against!

So – where do you think you need to tweak your digital organisational tool use? I’d love to know, so please leave your comments below…

And if you want to save this article to read again sometime, or share it with friends, then please use the buttons below, or delve deeper into sorting out your tech by reading THIS ARTICLE next.

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This article was written by Chrissy

Hi - I'm Chrissy... Having run my own business for 12 years as a Professional Organiser and Interior Designer, I know what works (and what doesn't!) when it comes to setting up a home that works both functionally and aesthetically. Now you can mostly find me in a coffee shop or at home, working full time on OrganiseMyHouse.com (which I setup back in 2011) sharing all my tips and ideas. My mission is to help you create a home that you love to live in every day...

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