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Digital Minimalism: How To Declutter Your Online Life

Our relationship with technology

"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

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Digital Minimalism: How To Declutter Your Online Life

Digital Minimalism: How To Declutter Your Online Life

https://www.refinery29.com/en-gb/digital-decluttering-how-to

refinery29.com

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Key Ideas

Digital minimalism

Digital minimalism is a "philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time on a small number of carefully selected and optimised activities that strongly support things you value, and then happily miss out on everything else."  - Cal Newport

Use technology to "support" your personal goals, rather than letting it "use" you.

The principles of digital minimalism

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Intentionality is satisfying. Digital minimalists derive significant satisfaction from their general commitment to being more intentional about how they engage with new technologies.

How to declutter your digital life

  1. Put aside a 30-day period during which you will take a break from optional technologies in your life. 
  2.  During this 30-day break, explore and rediscover activities and behaviours that you find satisfying and meaningful.
  3. At the end of the break, reintroduce optional technologies into your life, starting from a blank slate. For each technology you reintroduce, determine what value it serves in your life.

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We spend all day staring at screens, read books on Kindles or iPads, and come home to relax by watching a movie or TV.

Digital technologies lump together the good with the bad.

Digital minimalism defined

As Cal Newport defines it, Digital minimalism is:

“A philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time on a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support things you value, and then happily miss out on everything else.”

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Cluttered digital lives
Cluttered digital lives

If people's physical lives were anywhere near as cluttered as their digital lives, their kitchen sinks would be full of dishes, their closets would be jammed, and their houses would be in chaos.

Become a Digital Minimalist

We can reclaim our time and our attention. Unlike a physical space, we can wipe the slate clean in our digital environment.

If you clear apps from your phone, nothing will happen. You can always reinstall the ones you use.

Digital Declutter
  • Clear your browser history.
  • Unsubscribe from newsletters, podcasts, blogs, and anything else you consume.
  • Delete all the apps that are currently on your phone and desktop or laptop (as long as you don’t have to buy a new version of anything).

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Digital minimalism

This philosophy is guided by the idea that we should be in control over what kinds of media we consume, not have our habits dictated to us by technology.

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Taking Leisure Seriously

Instead of defaulting into the low-quality obsessions that leave us wondering where the time has gone, we should cultivate high-quality hobbies that lead to lasting satisfaction.

Re-evaluate your relationship to technology:
  • First allow for a period of abstinence.
  • Follow this by a selective re-introduction of only those tools and technologies that pass a more rigorous cost-benefit analysis than you typically impose.
Addiction and Modernity

They go hand-in-hand.

Addiction seems to be the inevitable consequence of our culturally-created environment changing faster than our biologically-hardwired brains.

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