Digital minimalism

Hello everybody, while currently working on a long post that I decided to slip in two, I decided to make a quick post about another topic.

You all have heard the phrase minimalism and what it means. You probably also know if you’re a minimalist or not. But have you heard about digital minimalism?

What is digital minimalism?

Digital minimalism is a philosophy that helps you question what digital communication tools (and behaviors surrounding these tools) add the most value to your life. It is motivated by the belief that intentionally and aggressively clearing away low-value digital noise, and optimizing your use of the tools that really matter, can significantly improve your life.

I chose to quote the definition of digital minimalism by Cal Newport. He’s an author of the book Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World.

digital minimalism
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

How to become a digital minimalist

Technologies are important in our lives, they made a lot of work faster, requiring fewer resources, but now they own our attention and in this way – us.

You will often find yourself scrolling through social media first thing in the morning and last thing before bedtime. You will often stretch out for the phone when you’re bored or to check how many likes your post has received. Social media platforms like Facebook are working to keep our attention captured and held for a long time. That helps them survive.

But you don’t have to be a daily contributor to your social media accounts, nor be afraid of ”missing out”. Post on the feed when you really have something to say or show, not to gain likes. Don’t try to keep up with what others are doing because you lose time doing things others would like to follow.

 

Essentialism, minimalism & slow life

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Digital minimalism and decluttering

My email inbox has less than 50 emails that fit inside one page. I can and I will decrease this number to the smallest possible. 

I can’t remember when I had first started to keep my mailbox clean by removing unimportant messages. There are emails to be read once and deleted, there are emails with information to take and keep, there are important emails to keep, but they all eventually expire their importance.

To keep your email inbox neat and clutter-free you should:

  • Immediately delete emails that don’t contain important information. Ads, newsletters you don’t care about – unsubscribe and delete them.
  • If there’s a newsletter that you found useful and want to read again keep it while it’s relevant to you. If the email contains interesting links open them, delete the email. After checking the link you will probably close the tab and forget about it. That’s why keeping it in your digital inbox isn’t important.
  • If you decide to leave an email to ”check something later”, most likely it means never. Any information you need, you can find through the google search.
  • When an email contains important information for the short- or long-term keep it for as long as it’s relevant then delete it.
  • If the email contains files you need to download and keep them where you can access them. No need to fill your limited inbox space.
  • When you’re done removing unimportant emails empty the spam box then go and clear the deleted emails so that they wouldn’t remain anywhere. I know that email providers delete them every 30 days, but you can do it manually and keep it clean.

It’s the same as removing the bag of garbage from your home – you wouldn’t wait until the end of the month to do it.

And it’s not just email – your computer will have files and programs that you don’t use, your phone and tablet will have unused apps, contacts you don’t need, the music you don’t listen to, or loads of pictures. I am guilty of many things of the above, especially photos.

I bought a portable hard drive just for photos, then I realised that I have too many boring, worthless shots. They might have looked nice at the moment of taking, but later they had been useless, taking up space that I could fill with photos I’m proud of, travel memories to keep, moments to cherish.

What Marie Kondo’s book lacks is decluttering your devices. Think of your digital files in any possible device and storage: is it useful to you? important? does it spark joy? See what I did there?

On Android devices, it’s possible to close up all of your opened programs by tapping the square button on your home screen. Phone browsers often have many pages open. Many tabs on the internet browser – all of the things that can slow your devices or overwhelm you. 

And when you’re done cleaning your computer always empty the bin – you don’t keep your garbage at home.

For more about digital minimalism, you can read in this great article How to Simplify Your Online Life.

 

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digital minimalism