I have been thinking more about my digital life and how it can impact our lives and moods. So I thought I would share what I have been focusing on to be more of a digital minimalist.
Below are my five tips for success, but before that, let me explain what digital minimalism is.
What is Digital Minimalism?
I came across Digital Minimalism whilst doom-scrolling on YouTube, and in one video, the creator mentioned a book by Cal Newport called Digital Minimalism. I was intrigued, so I went ahead and bought it.
In a nutshell, Cal Newport talks about Digital Minimalism as being more intentional with your technology. It’s not to stop using your devices but to use them for activities that add value and do not distract you from the world around you.
There are 3 Key Principles that Cal follows.
- Clutter is costly
- Optimisation is important
- Intentionality is satisfy
So, based on this, let’s jump into my tips for success
1. Declutter your Home Screen
Our home screens can be a see of apps that lead to distraction. You pick up your phone to do one thing and then get pulled into another app like Instagram, and before you know it, you have been doom-scrolling for half an hour.
One way to help with this is to keep your Home Screen to the bare minimum for your apps. Keep the apps that you need to have quick access to, e.g. banking or messaging apps and then remove the rest from your home screen.
You will still be able to access them from the App Library or by searching, but it adds that added bit of friction to opening them.
2. Set Focus Time
Setting out time that you spend binge-watching content or on other apps is an excellent way to get your fix. You could set aside, for example, 30 min to consume your social media if you don’t want to go the whole hog and get rid of them all together (also referred to as a digital detox).
You could set up specific focus times on your phone to help with this. When you are not meant to be looking at social media, you could set a focus time which blocks notifications from specific apps and create a Home Screen for that focus setting that doesn’t have those apps on it. Once you have reached your set time, you can turn off that focus mode. I believe there are other apps that can act in a similar way.
3. Remove Unused Apps
It’s not until you look at your apps that you realise how many you have. And it is even more amazing how many of those apps you have not used in months or even ever (if you are like me). It can be overwhelming to see the amount of clutter on your phone or any device, for that matter.
It’s good digital hygiene to look through your apps and delete the ones you have not used in two months, for instance. The length of time is up to you, but I would say if you are not using them every month, then they are not worth keeping.
4. Manage Notifications
I think this might have had the most significant impact out of all the points in this list. Being bombarded with notifications is a surefire way to get distracted from the task at hand. With every bing bong, I would pick up my phone and look at the notification. Sometimes, I would put it straight back down. Other times, I would click on something else. Anyway, my focus had been broken.
Go through your notifications and turn off the ones you really don’t need and that take your focus away. Only have notifications that you really need, e.g. messages. The other way around this is again using focus modes which can silence all your notifications for a specific period of time.
5. Review Subscriptions
Do you find that your email box is full of newsletters that you didn’t even know that you had signed up for? I certainly do, and in over the last month, I have started to unsubscribe from the ones that a) I can’t remember why I signed up and b) ones that I just don’t read.
This will help to declutter your mailbox and help you get your digital life in order. Reducing the number of emails will certainly make you feel less anxious and stressed. I found that 80% of the emails that I received were newsletters that I didn’t even read and took up time to clear, so managing these has certainly helped.
If you are looking for more mental clarity and to be more intentional then I would recommend trying some of the above. Having a clear and intentional digital life can really help in reducing stress and anxiety as well as help with your productivity.
I would also recommend checking out Cal Newport’s book on Digital Minimalism. It’s a really interesting read with plenty of advice and other things that you can look to implement.