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Digital Minimalism

Digital Minimalism

by Cal Newport

The Digital Declutter

There are three steps towards digital decluttering:

1. Define your technology rules

2. Take a thirty-day break from everything digital

3. Reintroduce digital products, one by one

Only after this cleansing ...

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A Lopsided Arms Race

Seemingly small environmental factors can lead to big behavioral changes. And behavioral addictions - repeated, regular behaviors - are akin to substance addictions. We follow them subordinately and without much thought.

In order to prevent bad habits, we m...

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Intermittent positive reinforcement

Intermittent positive reinforcement revolves around receiving rewards at an inconsistent rate (think of a slot machine) rather than receiving them as a guaranteed result of certain actions (if I do my homework, I will get an A).

It plays a big role in developing a habit, as...

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Spend Time Alone

As Blaise Pascal put it bluntly:

“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

Give your brain regular doses of quiet; alternate between solitude and connection, we as human beings need both to thrive. It is best to s...

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Don’t Click “Like”

Us humans are wired to be social.

However, studies show that the more connected we are on social media, the more we are likely to feel lonely, because they take away from real socializing.

There needs to be connection, rather than jus...

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Digital Minimalism

Habits also apply to the digital realm. And in this realm, Cal believes in the following philosophy of use:

Each digital tool must have a certain purpose to allow yourself to use it, and under certain constraints.

This habit of heavy filtering of digital services arose from t...

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Intentionality...

...is satisfying, and using only those services which feel like they provide real value is much more satisfying - and rewarding - than scrolling mindlessly through countless apps.

There is a law of diminishing returns in tech, too - a few services are important, even essent...

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Join the Attention Resistance

We’re living in an “attention economy”: gathering consumers’ attention and then repackaging and selling it to advertisers.

To remove yourself from this trade, remove social media apps from your phone, or limit your interaction with them.

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The Dunbar’s Number...

...represents a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with which we can interact meaningfully and regularly (i.e. maintain social relationships). This number can only be so high (between 100 and 250), so having thousands of online “friends” is misleading to our impres...

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Reclaim Leisure

Before giving up using addictive technology, set up meaningful and rewarding leisure activities to fill your schedule.

There are great benefits to choosing action over more traditional leisure activities, the so-called ”strenuous leisure”, or, as Theodore Roosevelt endorsed...

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Living A More Fulfilling Life

There are many tips that can help you live a more fulfilling and less dependent on the digital. You can:

  • Join various communities;
  • Schedule to build or fix something every week or month;
  • Set up a calendar for seasonal leisure plans, objectives, and habits.

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