Becoming A Digital Minimalist
A few weeks ago, I recently published “Less Is More” wherein I explain and share my experience in becoming a minimalist. For those of you who haven’t read it, Minimalism is a tool or philosophy that can assist you in finding freedom. Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.
This tool or whatever you call it changed my perspective of life and helped me budget my money. Every time I see something I want to buy, I always ask myself now. “Do I need it?” “Are there other options that have the same quality as this one?”
Now, what if you can apply it to your digital life? Is it possible to become a digital minimalist? The answer is: Yes!
Recently I finished listening to the audiobook version of Cal Newport’s new book “Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World” in his new book Cal Newport discusses the how and why you should become a digital minimalist. I highly recommend you to listen or read his new book and his other book Deep Work.
According to Cal Newport,
Digital minimalism is a philosophy that helps you question what digital communication tools (and behaviors surrounding these tools) add the most value to your life. It is motivated by the belief that intentionally and aggressively clearing away low-value digital noise, and optimizing your use of the tools that really matter, can significantly improve your life.
Becoming a digital minimalist is simple. However, this will start an attention war inside your head. In the past few years, I’m sure you noticed that people are becoming prisoners of their smartphones. Most people don’t even appreciate real-world conversations these days. This is alarming because we are social animals. We need social interactions to develop and grow as human beings.
When you incorporate digital minimalism into your life, you take back what is yours(attention and time!), learn how to become present, have more focus and productivity, and improve your social and communication skills.
Here are certain practices you need to do to become a digital minimalist: *Note: Some of these practices have certain exemptions. So do it wisely.
Downgrade from smartphone to dumb phone
A dumb phone is a phone that we all used before the smartphone era.
These are phones that have basic call and text functions. It has no apps, no internet connection, GPS, etc. having this device is a great practice for digital minimalism because you are no longer distracted from looking at your phone every single time you feel bored or anxious. So you might be wondering what about if there are emergencies? People will usually call you if there are emergencies because it is an urgent matter.
When you switch to a dumb phone, you will notice that your social circle will be smaller.
Social media has shown us this illusion that we are friends with hundreds or thousands of people but the truth is only a small percentage of these “digital friends” are connected to us. You will notice this when you start looking at your contacts or the messages you receive via text. Also, this practice will let you audit your circle. This will help you identify your true relationships with other people.
Delete social media apps on your phone
Deleting social media apps makes you a participant of the ongoing attention war. These social media companies are built to hook you from using them time and time again. Think of their business model this way: More Time Spent = More Money. The more time you waste gives them more income. This lets them take control of you. You must resist it by deleting these apps and do a social media detox.
If you haven’t switched to a dumb phone, deleting social media apps can give you more control over your time and productivity. This process will allow resetting your relationship with technology.
Keep in mind that if you need some of these for your work, you need to set a time to check them. You can also set an exemption however you need to be aware and conscious on this process because if you are not aware you are hooked on using these and end up in an endless loop of scrolling down.
Find and do meaningful tasks and work
I’m sure you use these social media apps because you are bored and looking to escape your present moment. When you keep yourself busy, you won’t notice that the time that pasts by. Instead of looking for memes or watching useless videos, use that energy and time to read a book or listen to an audiobook. If you are planning to start some little project of yours, use that time and energy to take action.
Understand that your time is short and money can’t buy time. Do the meaningful task that you always want to do.
When you start doing these tasks or work, make sure that you don’t multitask. To produce meaningful work, you must focus on one task at a time.
Spend some time alone
Spending some time alone lets you connect with nature itself. When was the last time you looked at other people’s interactions? When was the last time you looked up at the sky? When was the last time you appreciate nature? I bet it’s been a long time. People are so hooked on their phones and technology itself that they forget the beauty of life.
Understand that solitude helps you to think clearly and get more ideas. When you go for a walk or exercise leave your smartphone or if you are worried about some calls or text to bring your dumb phone with you. Spending some time alone is a great way to practice mindfulness and living in the present moment.
Our technology has allowed us from connecting to other people around the world. We can connect to our relatives or friends far away from us in an instant. Becoming a digital minimalist isn’t saying “NO” to the technology and its benefits. But, becoming a digital minimalist allows you to redefine your relationship with technology.
Once you understand how to use technology properly you have more control, productivity, and power. Keep in mind that less is more even in the digital age.