Digital Minimalism

A few years ago I discovered the concept of minimalism.

I feel like it really changed my life. I looked at (literal) things differently. After I got over the fact that I would not have white walls and two pieces of furniture. And that my family as a whole would not be joining me on this adventure I learned so much. I learned that I was not my things. And that holding onto things “just in case” was not reason enough to hold on to something.

I learned that not everything of sentiment had to be kept. I now take photos of kids art work and projects that in my heard I would love to keep but know I have no place for.

So I have spent the last four’ish years trying to live my life intentionally.

It never occurred to me to take those concepts and apply them to my digital life.

Somehow I stumbled across Digital Minimalism:Living Better with Less Technology by Cal Newport.

Years before I knew anything about this book, much after I started living my life more intentionally I was in the midst of trying to change my digital habits. I had deactivated and deleted my Facebook a handful of times. I put apps on my phone to track my time and block usage. My phone automatically goes into Do Not Disturb mode during certain hours. At this point in my life I have even started leaving my phone in different rooms when I’m home and in my purse/bag when I am out.

Since I was already trying to change my digital habits I do not think I got much from it. But I do think this is something that a lot of people should read.

It is not a book the promotes dumping your smartphone or getting offline all together. The book promotes basic minimalist concepts: being more intentional about how and when you use your phone.

While I am “back on Facebook” these days I use those words VERY loosely. Yes, I have a Facebook account but I do not have the app on my phone and I only log on from my computer. I really only use it when I am trying to sell something. The times I try and just log on for the hell of it I find myself so uninterested and bored I close the window and move on with life. And that’s the point.

You can still be online without being ON all the time, or even some of the time.

People born before the mid-1980s have strong memories of life without cell phones. All of the concerns listed above still existed in theory, but no one worried much about them. Before I had my driver’s license, for example, if I needed someone to pick me up from school after sports practice, I’d use a payphone: sometimes my parents were home, and sometimes I had to leave a message and hope they got it. Getting lost and asking for directions was just a regular part of driving in a new city, and not really a big deal—learning to read maps was one of the first things I did after learning to drive. Parents were comfortable with the idea that when they were out for dinner and a movie, the babysitter had no easy way to reach them in the case of an emergency.

Digital Minimalism


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