A beginner’s guide
In a world of hyper-connectivity, the concept of digital minimalism has been gaining popularity. But what does digital minimalism really mean? The essence of it is simple, so let’s unpack it together.
In the real world, minimalism is a lifestyle or philosophy that emphasizes reducing physical possessions, distractions, and clutter in order to create more space, freedom, and mental clarity. It's about simplifying your surroundings and focusing on what truly matters to you. This can apply to material possessions and even commitments in your life.
But how do we translate this concept into the digital realm?
To some people, the expression “digital minimalism” can have a negative connotation. After all, we live in the modern world where technology makes life easier and more comfortable, so why would anyone intentionally adopt a lifestyle that deprives you of these conveniences?
It is important to understand that digital minimalism is not anti-technology. Rather, it is all about using technology in a way that adds value to your life while reducing its negative effects. It's like decluttering your digital world. You intentionally choose the digital tools and activities that are most important to you, and you avoid unnecessary or distracting ones. This helps you focus better, have more meaningful connections, and enjoy a healthier relationship with technology. It's about using tech purposefully and not letting it control you.
If this sounds daunting, here are some small steps you can start taking right now to kickstart your journey:
- Analog Hour: Set aside an hour each day (or a specific time each week) when you disconnect completely from digital devices. Use this time to read a physical book, go for a walk, or engage in a creative hobby. This can help break the cycle of constant digital engagement.
- Notification Fasting: Try going without notifications for a day or even a week. Turn off non-essential notifications on your devices. This can help you regain control over your attention and reduce the constant interruptions.
- App Diet: Choose one day of the week to uninstall all the apps from your phone that you haven't used in the past week. If you find you miss them, you can reinstall them. This helps you identify the apps you truly need.
- Offline Adventure Jar: Whenever you have the urge to use your digital device out of habit or boredom, drop a coin into an "offline adventure" jar instead. Use the money saved to treat yourself to an enjoyable offline experience later.
- Social Media Sprints: Rather than scrolling through social media mindlessly, allocate a specific time for "social media sprints." Set a timer for 10-15 minutes, engage purposefully with posts, and then log out. This prevents aimless scrolling.
- Digital Sabbatical: Plan a day or weekend when you go completely offline. Use this time to connect with nature, engage in physical activities, or spend quality time with loved ones without the distractions of technology.
While these steps can be incredibly successful, do not underestimate how efficient ripping the band-aid can be. Radical changes, like quitting social media cold turkey, can be liberating. But remember, the goal is balance and not complete abstinence.
Still in doubt if you’d benefit from a digitally minimal lifestyle? Then ponder on the following food for thought:
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Have you noticed any areas of your life where you feel your digital devices or online activities might be taking up more time, attention, or energy than what you dispense to the ones around you? What changes can you make to move the needle back toward balance?
An accomplished translator and writer, Cami has been in the creative field for nearly two decades. Her experience as a linguist in several fields, paired with her background as a native Latina immigrant (born and raised in Brazil and naturalized American citizen) gives her a unique perspective on the social and cultural context of our society. She has been with Techless since 2022 and currently lives in Michigan with her husband of twelve years, their eight-year-old son, and their puppy Oreo.