It can be hard to think about minimalism in the noise and rush of our busy lives. There’s always something else to do, listen to, or respond to. Our phones go off at all hours of the day, demanding our attention. I give my husband a hard time because he has email notifications on and I’ll be just about ready to fall asleep when ‘bing’, a new email from Amazon or Ebay or someone like that.
Part of our journey towards digital minimalism involves downsizing and streamlining. App notifications – both phone and computer – are an easy place to make those changes.
Now, there are some notifications we definitely need – text messages are usually on that list, especially for parents. But there are a lot of notifications we can remove from our daily schedule. Do you really need to be pinged when an email comes in or are you checking email on your own schedule? How about this week’s cookie notification from Crumbl? Or an alert when the litter box is full?
(That last one is a definite yes for me!)
Digital minimalism looks different for each of us. When minimizing notifications, it’s up to each of us to stop and think about why we need to be notified, what purpose the notification is serving, and what we do because of the notification. (How we respond is key to finding our distraction points during the day) Then we can make deliberate decisions about what stays and what goes.
How is your journey into digital minimalism going? Any surprises? Anything I can do to support you?
How’s it going getting started with digital minimalism?
Last time we talked about RescueTime and figuring out how much time you actually spend on your digital devices and what you’re doing when you are there. Were there any surprises? Did you get a good idea of where you are spending your time when you are online? Did you look just at your computer, or did you also install RescueTime on your phone?
Our phones are full of fun things and interesting information, but they’re also a big source of distracted time suck. Not only using the apps, but scrolling and scrolling past screens of other apps to get to the one you want.
Take a look at your phone. How many apps do you have? More than 20? More than 50? (approx. 140 for me – that was a surprise!)
How many of those apps are you actually using? And have you thought about why you’re using those particular apps? Does each app have a purpose beyond ‘fun when I’m bored’?
(Some of that is okay, but part of digital minimalism is acting with intent.)
Just like we declutter our houses, we also need to declutter our phones. Next time you’re sitting in front of the TV, or waiting in the pick-up line, find those seldom used or unnecessary apps and delete them. It’s a great way to minimize your digital clutter and work towards minimalism.
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After our talk last week about digital minimalism, I had a reader mention the phrase ‘attention management’ when it comes to working with intent. It’s a great phrase because, with our digital life, so much of what we do is mindless.
This is especially true when it comes to surfing and Internet usage. How many times have you fallen down an Internet rabbit hole? Or turned on your phone just to kill time while waiting?
We all get caught up sometimes, and the first part of minimizing your digital use is figuring out how you actually use your time. I use a great software called RescueTime that tracks your digital activity across all devices it is installed on – phone, computer, Internet, and tablet. The software allows me to see, for example, that I spent 15 minutes playing Alien Hive on my phone last night when I could swear it was only a couple of minutes before bedtime.
I’ve written an App Review on RescueTime before, which you can find here: App Review – RescueTime
Check it out. It’s a great tool to try as we work on digital minimalism.
Questions? Let me know! Otherwise, I’ll see you next time!
We all want a more peaceful life. Less stress, less clutter. The minimalists out there say the way there is through less stuff and more intention.
There are Instagram feeds and Facebook groups devoted to decluttering your kitchen, your closet, any part of your house. But in a world full of tech and information streams and social media, what does digital minimalism look like?
It’s more than just organizing your files or purging your email. More than giving up Facebook for a month or two. Digital minimalism is about being intentional with how you spend your time online. Intentional with what you consume and how you consume it.
Cal Newport, the writer of “Digital Minimalism: Choosing a focused life in a noisy world”, defines digital minimalism as “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.”
Easy enough to say. But not necessarily easy to do. There’s a lot of noise out there and a lot of suggestions of what to do to embrace digital minimalism. A lot of discussion about how much minimalism is enough.
According to research, you’re likely to check email and chat every 6 minutes, spend 4 hours or so on your phone a day, and use something like 50 or more tools and apps a day. Few of us want to give up technology and all the great things the Internet has to offer. But there is a way to minimize your tech without giving everything up.
How to turn down the noise and surf with intent is going to be our focus for the next couple of months. We’ll talk about apps, notifications, values, and goals as they relate to digital minimalism.
Stay tuned for more details!
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How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.
I’m sure you’ve heard that before. Or maybe it was something about eating a frog first thing in the morning. Either way, there’s an important message there.
Many clients I work with tell me about the “pile” of things that have accumulated. Maybe it’s the unread count in email, maybe it’s the number of documents in your downloads folder. No matter where the stuff has gathered, there is this prevailing feeling that you have to tackle the whole thing at once.
And nobody wants to do that.
But that all at once theory isn’t true!
The pile didn’t accumulate in a day, so don’t try to tackle it all at once. Instead, take 10 – 15 minutes at a time and see what you can accomplish. Before you know it, the pile is a little smaller, and a little more manageable. For many people once they have the pile tackled, it’s easy to stay on top of the everyday.
Do you need help tackling your pile of emails or your stack of files? Reply here and let me know what I can do to help you be more productive!