I have just finished reading Digital Minimalism by Carl Newport and it’s a breath of fresh air in today’s attention groping digital economy.
The book profers realistic, lasting solutions to the problem of uncontrolled, excessive use of digital and suggests alternatives to fill up the time retrieved.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, Digital Minimalism “a philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time on a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support things you value, and then happily miss out on everything else.”
In today’s world, many of us have unconsciously become frazzled maximalists, with heightened FOMO(fear or missing time). We often spend all our spare time mindlessly scrolling through social media platforms, forgetting that time is really the most valuable things there is, and the time spent on these platforms cannot be gotten back and mostly yields nothing.
What this book does is to awaken a consciousness that will guide meaningful use of digital. It doesn’t in anyway condemn the use of digital but advocates for more mindful and productive usage. It proffers solutions to taking one from a ‘A frazzled maximalist to an intentional minimalist’, and giving one back control of one’s life.
Except you make money from digital media, the books suggests to begin with a ‘digital declutter’. This is the process of taking off all apps you can do without off you phone for a month. If your business thrives on social media, it suggests accessing your most used platforms via a computer and timely control time spent while using the platform (s). This declutter the book suggests, will give one the ability to reintroduce other activities into ones life like ‘high-quality leisure’ activities, socializing that requires real physical association, mindful thinking, solitude, etc.
After the declutter, one must then consider, which apps are really the most important to have? The book suggests three steps in determining this:
“Does this technology directly support something that I deeply value? ”
“Is this technology the best way to support this value? ”
“How am I going to use this technology going forward to maximize it?”.
These guidelines can then guide one in using digital following the declutter and shed more light on the harsh truth that most of the social media apps we use mindlessly are unnecessary and most times affects the overall quality of our lives.
There are so many lessons to take away from this book, but the most for me been the reintroduction of high quality leisure into my life. These kind of activities could unleash potentials and open doors to career paths one never even considered eg learning gardening, sewing, carpentry, baking/cooking, knitting, etc.( activities that involve skill or exerting your self and tapping into your creativity)
One of my favorite quotes from Digital Minimalism is:
“The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run”
This book is a must read and I highly recommend. It breaks down in detail different downsides of the excessive use or digital and how tech companies are feed off an ubiquitous ‘slot machine’- your smart phone at your expense.
Newport’s book life changing and will help improve the quality of your life if you consciously apply the suggested principles to everyday living.