No matter how much we may want it to be different, no one is really capable of multitasking. Even if you have two thousand hobbies and ideas, like me, there is a moment you must yield: focusing on a single task for a while and ignoring the rest of the world. ‘I was in hibernation’, a friend called it. She responded to my app message after three months. Refreshing, really.
I was added to the umpteenth WhatsApp group last week, unsolicited. Time to count the number of semi-active groups of which I am now a member. They total twenty-five. While scrolling down the list, I became increasingly glum. Once past the first ten people whom I message regularly, all of the forgotten or neglected chats popped up, including a veritable graveyard of chats I had left and which made me feel guilty.
Visual clutter also bothers me, even if I am usually the one creating the clutter
Visual clutter also bothers me, even if I am usually the one creating the clutter. It was high time for digital spring cleaning. The fact that spring is not yet here, who cares. Climate change: spring comes early this year. The trick is to exit an app group elegantly, as there is not really a way to leave unseen. You need to find the right moment (which is not immediately after someone has shared an important announcement) and decide whether a goodbye note is in order. ‘Guys, in 2018, forming a knotsball team seemed like a great idea, but as time progresses, it seems increasingly unlikely actually to happen. Moreover, one of us is now in New Zeeland, so I am leaving this group’, or something of that nature.
The trick is to exit an app-group elegantly
Furthermore, there is the issue of knowing when to respond to a message immediately and when you can take your time. That reduces the sense of guilt. There are some people with whom I message in a manner reminiscent of two women sending each other letters in times of war. The friend who has just ended her hibernation, for example. Coincidentally, I am about to go into hibernation myself because I need to finalise my bachelor’s. Hence, my friend will have to wait for my reply for a month. In the meantime, the messages will keep piling up, which means a second digital spring cleaning is in order when I come out of hibernation. But I will not feel guilty.schoonmaak moeten houden zodra ik uit mijn kluizenaarsfase kom. Maar ik zal me niet schuldig voelen.
Ilja Bouwknegt is 24, a bachelor’s student of Forest and Nature Management, and an active member of the study association WSBV Sylvatica. She sometimes does bat research at night.