March 4, 2019
This new year, Netflix released Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, inspiring people everywhere to organize and declutter their homes. Perhaps you watched and were inspired to spend January doing just that. This spring, why not turn your attention to an equally anxiety-inducing aspect of your world — your digital life?
A digital minimalist is the lucky soul who can go for hours without looking at their phone. They don’t have to do it for the ‘gram; they’re not consumed by the overwhelming desire to check their emails and messages. This is the goal, according to author Cal Newport in his latest book, Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World.
Today, so many of our daily activities have an unbreakable tie to our computers and smartphones. But digital clutter can ultimately lead to stress and anxiety. Use these tips below to begin your own path towards digital minimalism.
How to digitally declutter:
Phase 1: Break the bonds
Take a 30-day break from selected online activities. Decluttering is easier said than done; there’s no one formula that works for everyone. We all have different lifestyles and priorities. To get started, Newport suggests a 30-day fast. During this time, you can:
- Rediscover valuable analog activities, such as taking walks, creating handicrafts, or bonding with family.
- Gain clarity regarding your priorities.
Keep or kick. At the end of the 30 days, choose what activities to resume and what to do away with completely.
Phase 2: A toolbox of practices
Create better habits. After your 30-day fast, you have a clearer picture of what you do and don’t need in your life. It’s time to create habits that will cultivate and maintain your new life of digital minimalism.
Newport’s Digital Minimalism introduces a variety of techniques, such as refraining from “liking” posts to focusing on offline solitude and camaraderie.
You can create your own techniques by reflecting on the following questions:
- How dependent am I on my devices?
- What offline activities can I do to replace idle online time?
“We cannot possibly allow the wild tangle of tools, entertainments, and distractions provided by the internet age to dictate how we spend our time or how we feel.”
— Cal Newport, Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World
Digital minimalism is the art of maintaining a serene relationship with your gadgets. We now live in a world where technology serves us — but does it, really?
Newport observes that many individuals facing stress from tech overload are, in fact, driven, successful, and intelligent. Yet they tend to succumb to the trap of digital overwhelm, buried under their own productivity tools.
Indeed, if we aren’t careful, the very things that should make life easier can instead do the opposite. Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport is available in ebook, audiobook, and hardcover formats. Get it today.