Digital Minimalism

If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably heard me talk about the book Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport in recent times. I cam across this book after reading Roni Loren’s blog post on her digital declutter and 30-day social media detox (her blog is really excellent, and well worth a read!)

This book centres around how as a society we’re becoming increasingly addicted to technology and the overestimated value it provides us. I think it was the book I needed to read, not because it taught me new things but because it validated concerns I had over my own attachment to my phone and the internet.

As an author these days it seems vital to be on social media, right? How else are we supposed to interact with readers? But one thing I’ve realised, however, is that being connected all the time isn’t working for me and that there are definitely some aspects of social media that suit me more than others (for example, I love some platform and loathe others, so why am I trying to be active on them all?) Ultimately, I do enjoy social media and I don’t want to leave all together, but I do want to use it more mindfully.

 

So, being the list-making type of person I am, I decided upon finishing the book last night that I would make a list of the top 5 things I would do to improve my relationship with technology and social media, and to remove “low value” activities that I was doing mindlessly, when I could be doing something better.

  1. Schedule a 30-day detox - this is something recommended in the book, and something that Roni Loren reported on in her blog. Since I’m going to be travelling in the later part of May for a friend’s wedding, I figured this would be a good month to have a break.

  2. Remove games from my phone - I find myself using these games to waste away travel time on the subway when I could be doing something better like reading or listening to a podcast.

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3. Delete my Twitter account - I’ve been dithering on this for months now, having put the account on hiatus over 6 months ago. The fact is, I hate Twitter. So now it’s gone and my immortalized last tweet is below.

4. Unfollow/Unsubscribe from all the entertainment “news” outlets I follow on Facebook - those click-bait titles works and I find myself wasting time reading crappy articles on things I don’t even care about. Or worse, reading people arguing about nothing in the comments (I’m looking at you BlogTO.)

5. Create a virtual “swear jar” for review sites - I’ve known for a while that compulsively reading reviews on Goodreads or Amazon doesn’t make me happy. I deeply appreciate the time people take to write reviews, but they do mess with my head. So I’m going to put 25c into a jar every time I look at my reviews and at the end of each month I’ll use the money for something to treat my husband. I’m hoping the “tracking” of how many times a day I look at these things will shock me into improving my behaviour.

Prior to reading this book I had already done a few of the things that are recommended by people Cal interviews, such as:

  1. Deleting Facebook from my phone

  2. Use a website blocker (I like freedom.to) to block distracting websites during my writing hours

If it’s not already clear, I HIGHLY recommend Digital Minimalism and plan to pick up Cal Newport’s other acclaimed book, Deep Work. Expect more productivity and mindful living posts in the future!

And here they are, my last tweets in all their glory…

 
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