Digital Minimalism: What It Is and 7 Reasons to Adopt It Yesterday
In his book Digital Minimalism, Millennial author and professor Cal Newport tackles the much-needed topic of minimizing your online presence. He argues that this has benefits personally, professionally, and privately. We agree!
While 4TESTS and sites across a broad spectrum thrive online, we’ll be the first to tell you that you need to be out there making new experiences and getting to know people instead of accounts. Unfortunately, the continuing political divides condemn virtually every generation from the oldest to the youngest. In the following article, we’ll be exploring the meaning of digital minimalism as well as what you can do to take back your life. Let’s begin!
What We Mean By Digital Minimalism
Digital minimalism is the practice of reducing the time we spend on our phones, tablets, and other smart devices. The problem is that we’ve become so dependent on technology that we don’t know how to function without it.
Minimalism is crucial to our happiness. It helps us to focus on the things that really matter and get rid of the things that we don’t need in our lives. It’s much easier to be productive when you’re not distracted by social media, email, and TV. Too much time on social media can lead to loneliness.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, the more time a person spends on social media, the more likely they are to be depressed.
1. One Device, One Purpose
One of the first and best ways to embrace digital minimalism is to decide on using only one device for one purpose. That might be easier said than done, but hear us out. You might have a flip phone for personal contacts and texting, a smartphone for business and security purposes like 2FA, or two-factor authentication, a tablet for eReading and streaming, and an Alexa or similar device for playing music.
The point isn’t how you use each specific type of device. It’s that you assign single functions that work for you for that device. That way, you can use it without it being so intrusive. The underlying purpose is that you end up being more thoughtful of your digital technology use.
2. De-clutter Your Apps and Software Subscriptions
De-cluttering your digital subscriptions is another vital part of minimization. A large number of people have subscriptions they forgot they have. That can result in a big expense that college students can’t or shouldn’t take on.
Take some time to look at your expenses and notice the recurring expenses that you’re no longer using. Cancel as many of them as you can. You can always restart a subscription later. In the meantime, you can save more money towards things that are more important or fulfilling than an unused subscription.
3. Eliminate Push Notifications
Push notifications steal your attention away from what you’re doing every time. Many of us automatically enable them from the beginning of using an app. What if we didn’t? Or, what if we started treating notifications like the interrupting nuisances they are?
If the average push notification steals your attention away for just five seconds at a time, it can still make it harder to get readjusted to what you were doing. When you’re getting dozens everyday from games, fitness trackers, entertainment apps, and more, you can spend hours trying to reconnect with your work.
4. Turn Downtime Into Organizational Time
Downtime happens throughout every person’s life, no matter how busy they think they are. The problem is that they fail to make wise use of this downtime. This allows work to build longer than it should. Pretty soon, you are playing catch-up you never should have of played in the first place.
Instead of having downtime, try to find ways of filling that void by organizing and reorganizing your work list. What can wait? What do you have to take care of this minute? What would make your life easier if you addressed it now rather than by a deadline?
5. Stay Off Social Media Altogether
Social media breeds depression. People get caught up in the most fraudulent examples of a life well lived. They start to think what they see is real, and because their lives aren’t as wonderful, something must be wrong with them.
At the same time, social media has proven to be an instigator. It peeks into the worst sides of us all. If we got to know each other as people instead of avatars or heartless trolls, then we might find more in common than previously thought.
It is unfortunate that modern media works to pit so many of us against each other. It’s even worse that sites like Facebook force you to see the things that make you angry more than uplifting. It skews your view of the world as it actually is to the negative. The more of that influence you have in your life, the worse off you’ll be.
6. Keep Passwords in Physical Form
Yes, keeping passwords in physical form creates more work for you than allowing Apple or an independent app to store them for you. But that’s the point!
The more you look at your passwords, the more you’ll start to question the necessity of those accounts. That gives you the opportunity to eliminate and de-clutter.
7. Detox Every Few Weeks
Digital detoxing is something you should look forward to doing. Determine the biggest distractions in your life and set aside some time to go a day or two without them. This might be difficult without a little planning.
Reach out to all the people that you need to keep in contact with. Tell them ahead of time you’re doing a digital detox. Inform them that you will not be available on certain accounts for whatever period of time that you set.
It’s okay to leave a little room for communication. However, the more you emphasize the detox to people, the more they’re likely to cooperate. And if they don’t, well, that’s on them!
Digital Minimalism Will Enrich Your Life
We hope that you’ll prioritize digital minimalism in your daily life. It will leave you feeling happier, more at peace with others, and, most of all, more productive. Now it’s your turn. What tips do you have to help others make digital minimalism a priority? Share in the comments section below!
[Featured Image by Flickr Creative Commons]