What is Digital Minimalism?
The COVID-19 pandemic has digitized every little aspect of our daily lives and has accelerated smartphone adoption all across the globe.
The number of smartphone users in India is estimated to reach over 760 million in 2021, with the number of smartphone users worldwide forecasted to exceed to 3.8 billion users in 2021. This accelerates social media adoption and sign-ups as well. Although social media can help us stay in touch with our loved ones, it can quickly become an addiction, bringing down our productivity and mood.
Digital Minimalism will help you enjoy the pleasures of social media without letting it become overbearing. It refers to the art and practice of implementing the minimalist lifestyle to your digital media consumption habits.
Cal Newport coined the term digital minimalism and introduced it in his book of the same name. According to Newport, Digital minimalism is a philosophy of technology use based on the understanding that our relationship with our apps, tools, and phones is nuanced and deserves more intention than we give it.
The best way to avoid digital media exhaustion while still staying connected with your friends, family and causes you care about is to find social media activities that deliver value to you.
Value can mean different things to different individuals. A good way to judge if a post/blog/article/video is valuable to you is to observe if you would like to bookmark or save it for future reference or to share it with your peers.
So what do you need to consider when you introduce digital minimalism to your life?
DIGITAL MINIMALISM PRACTICES
Find your why
For Digital Minimalism to work for you, find your why. Find out why you want to log in on Facebook. Find out why you want to log in on Instagram. Find out why you want to log in on Tik-Tok. Do you have friends or family who are constantly active on social media and you are just matching and mirroring their behavior?
Do you have a networking opportunity that can improve your social life?
Do you have a networking opportunity that can improve your professional life?
Do you have a habit of mindlessly scrolling through Tik-Tok or Instagram reels?
Do you consume news through social media channels?
Do you consume educational tips related to your industry through social media channels?
Every time you get the itch to log in on a social media platform, have a defined intention of spending time on it.
De-Clutter the unnecessary
You don’t need to have an account and be active on every social media platform out there. There are certain social media platforms that help you engage with communities having same interests and passions as you. You can definitely get networking opportunities on there. Or some others, such as Quora that can be informative and educational. Whichever platform provides the least amount of value, let it go.
Take frequent breaks
For all digital media that can be deactivated without disrupting your personal and professional life, take frequent breaks, or do a digital detox. It is the equivalent of having a ‘me’ day.
Time box your Social Media use
This world renowned and useful time management strategy not only boosts productivity but when applied to social media, can also hold you accountable for your time wasting activities.
IMPLEMENTING DIGITAL MINIMALISM
- Have a select few social media accounts: Less is more. Apply it to the number of accounts and profiles you have. Moreover, keep track of time spent on those apps as well. Instagram, one of the biggest social media platforms, has a helpful option where you can see the amount spent on the app. On Instagram, go to Profile → Sidebar Menu → Your activity → Time → Set Daily Reminders.
- Use browser add-ons and plug-ins to self police yourself: Several browser plug-ins will help track time spent on digital media sites and some go a step beyond by blocking all social media sites. Toggle it on at work for more productivity.
- Delete infrequently used apps: When you have many apps on your phone, it is easy to jump ship from one platform to the other, a habit that can hog several hours of your time on end, and make you a victim of the dreaded ‘doom scroll’. Result: Exhaustion. Delete apps that you infrequent.
- Read books: Go old school. Pick up from where you left on your to-read list and increase the effectiveness of your digital detox.
- Find new hobbies: Spend some time on your favorite hobbies like photography or learn a new skill and enhance your digital minimalism lifestyle
To be social is to be human, for we are social animals. But finding the right balance between being productive, being healthy and being social is indispensable. Which is where digital minimalism steps in.
Digital Minimalism will help you achieve a more intention driven use of digital media and help you enjoy it guilt-free.