What is digital minimalism? A look into a new practice we should all adopt
Say Friday rolls around and it so happens to be a big release date in music.
Rick Ross drops; Burna Boy drops; whoever you like drops. We’re talking about multiple projects all from people you rock with, all on the same day. What do you do?
It’s not like back in the day when you had to physically go to a brick-and-mortar store and make a purchase. There’s no unwrapping or secondary device needed — all you need is your phone. Upon first finding out about the album to the lead single and the music videos, all you ever need is your cellular device.
That’s because everything we do is on our phones. Music is just one example, but the digital revolution has brought everything from entertainment to finances and security to the palm of our hands.
Yet, not enough of us take the time to process the effect it’s having on us.
Ever notice how life tends to get a bit messier the more technology advances? And I’m not talking about getting caught up on Snapchat and sliding in the DM’s messy, I’m talking about schedules packed with emails, Slack messages, meetings and catchups, social media notifications, and the 24-hour news cycle. No matter what, it feels like we never have time to do anything meaningful.
Technology never stops; so, when trying to pace it, we end up not stopping either.
The problem is that there is too much value in technology to abstain from it completely. If we’re going to surrender all old habits and double down on these technological advances, we have to adopt a practice to balance our indulgence. And that practice is digital minimalism.
In order to do our best work and live a purposeful life, we have to be intentional with how we spend our time.
For whatever reason, when it comes to partying and recreational time we understand moderation, but somehow the concept is missed when it comes to screen time.
If you’re anything like most people you spend five-plus hours a day on your computer, use 56-plus apps and websites a day and switch between them more than 300 times, and if we tried, we can cut these numbers in half.
When it comes to digital media, most of us let anything in assuming the best stuff will stick, when really we should be filtering from the jump. It’s why we feel perplexed and stressed out over our phones yet unable to put them down.
When we incorporate aspects of minimalism into our lives, however, we can not only decipher what we need and don’t need, but we can shape the reality we live in and see every day.
Minimalism has become a buzzword in the past decade as “more is better” culture has made the idea of living with less more attractive. Minimalists may spend less money and own fewer things but they’re also more intentional about shaping their lives around things that matter to them.
This is what we can do with our digital diet: instead of blindly consuming any and everything, we can intentionally select what we take in. It helps us get the most out of the good parts of technology while protecting ourselves from the bad.
Being a digital minimalist is about being hyper-aware of your relationship with technology and recognizing that although there are positives, it takes a concentrated effort to solely reap those rewards.
So the question now is how, right? When it comes to minimizing your digital appetite it’s hard, but there are three methods you can use to help and the first is alone time.
The purpose of social media is to connect. Connect about what’s going on in the news, connect with the newest movie out, connect with someone across the globe. But physical and mental solitude is important for thinking clearly, which you can achieve when you demand alone time for yourself, not clicking the like button is another method we can use in practicing digital minimalism.
Instead of using them in ways to show off or that give us the endorphin boost we crave, we limit the use to staying in touch. Instead of strolling and clicking like all day and posting things in hopes to get likes back, communicate to who you need to communicate with and get off.
Another way to practice digital minimalism is by redefining leisure. Instead of the escapism that involves a screen, we should try to find things to do outside or that involve pages or anything other than a screen. Rediscovering non-digital activities will help us in our transition more than ever.
Once you’ve made the choice that we’re only going to consume the technology that connects to your values you’ll be surprised how much better you feel and how much other people need it as well.