My long-time friend and mentor, Cal Newport, has just released a new book, Digital Minimalism. The basic premise is one you've heard before: digital addictions, from social media to constant texting, have invaded our attentions, reduced our productivity and made our lives worse. The antidote isn't to smash your smartphones and live as the Amish ...
Just as Kondo suggests organising our physical spaces to achieve calm, in Digital Minimalism: On Living Better With Less Technology, Cal Newport argues that we can do the same for our digital spaces. Newport's "digital minimalists" have learned how to have a meaningful, mindful and balanced relationship with technology - using it to "support" personal goals, rather than letting it "use" them.
Clutter is costly. Digital minimalists recognise that cluttering their time and attention with too many devices, apps, and services creates an overall negative cost that can swamp the small benefits that each individual item provides in isolation.
Optimisation is important.To truly extract the full potential benefit of a technology, it’s necessary to think carefully about how you’ll use it.
Intentionality is satisfying. Digital minimalists derive significant satisfaction from their general commitment to being more intentional about how they engage with new technologies.
"The underlying behaviours we hope to fix are ingrained in our culture, and […] they’re backed by powerful psychological forces that empower our base instincts. To re-establish control, we need to move beyond tweaks and instead rebuild our relationship with technology from scratch, using our deeply held values as a foundation." - Cal Newport
One of the most horrifying statistics for modern knowledge workers is how much time they spend on email. They send, receive, and respond to email for an average of 5.6 hour per workday. According to Cal Newport, our highest value work is rare, valuable, and cognitively demanding.