A Guide to Simplifying Your Digital Life
Our grandparents generation never needed to learn the term digital minimalism. However, these days, technology increasingly intertwines with our lives. From smartphones to laptops, we are constantly connected and bombarded with notifications, emails, and social media updates.
While technology has brought us many benefits, it can also be a source of stress and anxiety. This is where digital minimalism comes in.
What is Digital Minimalism
Digital minimalism is a philosophy that involves simplifying your digital life by reducing the amount of time you spend on your devices and focusing on the things that truly matter. It is about being mindful of your digital habits and making intentional choices about what you allow into your life. By embracing digital minimalism, you can reduce anxiety, increase focus, and enjoy a more fulfilling life.
Benefits of Digital Minimalism
You might be asking yourself, “Why would I want to practice digital minimalism?” That’s a totally valid and understandable question considering most people don’t see the problem with technology use to begin with.
#1 Improved Sleep
Spending less time on your devices can help improve your sleep quality. All device screens emit blue light that can disrupt sleep patterns.
Screen time in bed and before bed time can distract you from carrying out a bedtime routine. Many people find themselves mindlessly scrolling for hours instead of taking the previously obvious steps towards sleep.
Your overall health has a tendency to improve when you get enough rest. Technology serves as a distraction from closing your eyes and carrying out the biological human function of sleep.
#2 Increased Mindfulness
Digital minimalism encourages you to be more mindful of how you spend your time. Your digital habits can become habitual without even realizing it.
You allow ideas, people, and images into your life because of your constant scrolling. The internet is a vast labyrinth of information of which you have no control over what is shown to you.
Everyone thinks they are immune to the effects of misinformation, constant stimuli, and endless scrolling. However, studies would disagree. You are less present in your life and more preoccupied with the online world then you realize.
#3 Better Focus
By reducing the amount of time you spend on your devices, you will be able to focus more fully on the task at hand. This can help you be more productive and reduce stress and anxiety by giving you a sense of accomplishment.
It probably comes as no surprise that you avoid doing tasks in lieu of digital distraction. Your vice might be a gaming app, social media scrolling, or information overwhelm. People fifty years ago didn’t have to overcome the distractions we face today.
There are hundreds of things you could be doing that would better align with your future best self. Instead the technology distracts you from fulfilling your purpose. Digital minimalism can help you re-focus on your goals and getting into alignment.
#4 Less Anxiety
When you have less disposable time your anxiety goes up. Most people would say there aren’t enough hours in the day. At the same time, people spend an average of 3 hours and 46 minutes on their mobile devices globally. All that time your are missing is being sucked up by screens.
If you belong to the 45% of adults who consume news multiple times per week, anxiety fills those minutes or hours. News is not longer created with the intent to inform. Now, the media machine aims to inflame your emotions and keep you engaged as long as possible.
Social media, like any other content we consume, is designed to keep our emotions activated. You will always feel anxious while scrolling social media, by design. Nobody ever scrolls their feed and leaves feeling like their circle is happy and healthy and everything is right with the world.
#5 More Connection
By reducing the amount of time you spend on your devices, you will have more time to spend with the people that matter most to you. Social media gives you a false sense of connection that isn’t related to reality. Your sense that you still have a relationship with that friend from college is not real if you haven’t spoken directly to them in decades.
Your relationships dissipate because you feel like you don’t have enough time to maintain them. But, you spend 57.5 solid 24-hour days per year on your phone. See the problem? You have plenty of time to maintain your connections, you’re just on your phone too much.
Even during the moments you could be maintaining relationships, your phone notifications distract you from that human. You loose track of the conversation, avert your eye contact, and stop being present because of a digital distraction.
How to Start Digital Minimalism
If you’re looking to reduce anxiety and simplify your digital life, digital minimalism is a great place to start. By embracing this philosophy, you can enjoy a more fulfilling and stress-free life.
Adults with ADHD are especially susceptible to fall into the never ending pit of the internet. There is always more to read, view, and find in the depths of the internet. Use these strategies to curb your natural tendency toward distraction.
Turn off Notifications
Every application on your phone has to be granted permission to push notifications to you. You have complete control over that apps ability to send audible notifications, lock screen notifications, and even if it shows a notification number on the home screen.
In order to begin a less distracted digital life, simply go through every app and revoke permission for notifications.
Set Time Limits
In the same way you can set time limit restrictions for your children, you can also set those maximums for your own devices. You can create time limits for certain categories of applications or for the device as a whole.
Check your current usage and choose a time limit that reduces your current screen time.
Turn off Cellular Data
Sometimes the habitual use of your device is too strong to overcome on your own. Another strategy to eliminate your mindless technology use is to turn off cellular data for the apps you find most distracting.
Each application on your phone has to ask permission to utilize your cellular data and you can revoke that access.
If digital applications distract you even while you’re at home on wi-fi, you should consider deleting the app all together. Your life existed before that app and it will carry on after you delete the app. There are millions of people on the planet that carry on just fine without ever having heard of whatever app is consuming your time.
In the process of deleting your apps, you should also turn on the password requirement to re-download them. This will add in an additional layer of thinking before you allow that app back into your life.
You don’t have to write off technology completely. Creating an intentional schedule for checking email, social media, or other digital distractions is prudent. I would be willing to bet you didn’t realize how many hours of your life you let become consumed by screens. When you create a schedule it forces you to acknowledge the time you are willing to give up to digital devices.
The amount of time you schedule will of course be lower than the amount of time you let slip away when you were using technology mindlessly.
Results of Digital Minimalism
The days and years you’ve spent wasting your time on devices can finally come to an end. You can never get back the time wasted, but you can sure reclaim your time in the future.
Time is your most precious resource. As you look back on your life there will never be a person who wishes they spent more time scrolling on their phone. You will wish you spent more time dancing or traveling or connecting with people.
Minimalists are happier because they have realized that distractions such as technology are not important. Eliminating distractions and embracing experiences is the cornerstone of the minimalist movement. This movement gives people the permission to stop doing what is expected of them and start doing what they actually want to do.