We all know that spending too much time on our phones and computers can lead to problems, but more often than not, it’s hard to stay away from them. Technology is addictive and distracting, which leads to a host of issues like anxiety disorders, depression, sleep deprivation, or even physical pain.
Digital Minimalism will help you better manage your digital life by being more conscious about what you use technology for and how much time you spend using it.
Whether you want to improve remote work productivity or focus on a hobby, this approach will declutter your online life and give you more time to do things you love.
Here's How Digital Minimalism Works
Minimalism centers around reducing clutter in your life by spending less time online or viewing apps during the day, freeing up time for physical activities like running or going outside.
When it comes to focus, attention and productivity, digital minimalism is key. It allows us to be more in control of our time and limits the number of distractions we're bombarded with on a daily basis.
As people that love technology, we’re not advocating for a life without it. However, we do believe that being more mindful of how we use it can lead to a more productive, balanced, and healthy lifestyle.
Also, remember that prioritizing productivity over being busy is one of the most important things you can do for your mental health. No matter if you aim to grow your company or just declutter your life, always keep in mind that more isn't necessarily better.
Step-by-step guide to becoming a digital minimalist
Follow the steps below and you'll be able to improve your ability to focus on one task at a time, decrease anxiety by stopping unnecessary multitasking, and reclaim back your attention span.
1. Defining Your Core Values
You need to take a step back from the pressures of everyday life to identify what your core values are and which ones are being affected by technology.
When it comes to your life, you have to be able to prioritize and say “no” sometimes. This means saying yes when you want things but no when they don't fit into your lifestyle and current plans for the future. For some people, it might be something as simple as spending time with family while for others it might be a bigger goal like finally getting into a demanding college program or learning how to play an instrument.
List out the things that you care about the most and then list how they could be positively affected by digital minimalism. Let’s have a look at a few examples:
- I care about my startup and want to be more productive. Through digital minimalism, I can create more time to work on it by decluttering my digital life and removing distractions.
- I care about staying fit and healthy. By reducing the amount of time I spend sitting in front of a screen, I can be more active and get healthier, leading to a more productive lifestyle.
- I care about my mental health. Too much time online can lead to anxiety and depression. By spending less time on my phone and computer, I can improve my mental health and well-being.
2. Dropping All Unnecessary Technologies
Technologies like social media, games, trolling websites, shopping sites, or anything else that doesn't align with your core values should be dropped.
In addition, you need to eliminate all possible distractions by cutting back on the time you spend watching TV, reading books, and playing video games.
One of the best ways to keep track of how technology is affecting your lifestyle is through time-tracking software. Tracking apps can help you see where your tech usage has been taking up most of your time spent in front of a screen. Once you know this information, it's easy to make better decisions about what you want out of life.
One of the most common ones is RescueTime. With features that can really help you understand how you spend your time online, you can set goals and limits to make sure you’re not overdoing it with tech usage.
3. Tracking Technology Triggers
Now that you've decided which optional technologies you're willing to give up for your values, it's important to understand what triggers those unnecessary uses.
By understanding what makes us want to check our phones or computers, we can better understand how we can avoid the temptation and use them without feeling like something is wrong with us. Similar to understanding what is a KPI in business and then tracking this to see if you're on the right path, you need to be aware of your triggers for tech use and track them.
Part of this will also help you be more in tune with yourself so you don't get caught off guard by a technology trigger later on once again. Keeping a list of potential triggers for your phone and computer helps you identify when they'll potentially pop up so that you can choose whether or not they are worth it.
These triggers can include:
- Getting a text message
- Seeing someone on social media with their phone out
- Seeing a phone number you don't recognize
- Hearing an email come in.
- It can be a notification or the "ding" of a new email.
Here are some counter-tips to combat these triggers.
Put your phone on silent whenever you're out.
This means that you can't get emails and texts, so you'll have to check them at certain times. You'll never be startled by a "ding" or an alert tone.
Avoid texting and social media while out with friends or family.
If an urgent situation arises, tell the person(s) involved that you'll need to take care of it right away. Talk with them after the situation is taken care of, and then get back to your conversation(s).
Avoid keeping your phone near you while you sleep.
Put your phone inside a drawer when you sleep, and then check it in the morning. This means that you'll have to get up and walk over to your drawer in the middle of the night if you want to check your phone - which is usually enough of a deterrent not to do it.
You have to be honest with yourself when writing these down though. If you know there are a ton of shopping sites that you visit pretty often, then make it one of your triggers.
4. Creating A List Of The Crucial Apps You Let Back In
Once you've got a list of technology triggers and their effects on your lifestyle, it's time to decide what tools are worth having around, and which ones you're willing to cut out completely.
Forest: Stay Focused is a free app that will block your phone for a set amount of time. This means that you’ll know that your day won’t be interrupted for at least the amount of time that you set.
A few key benefits of such an app are that:
- It allows you to stay focused on the task at hand without looking at your phone.
- It gives you an estimate of how long it will take you to complete a task so that you can better plan your day.
- You can use it to break up tasks into smaller chunks so that you don’t get overwhelmed.
Some benefits of using an app like this are that:
- It can help improve your problem-solving skills.
- It can help improve your memory.
- It can help increase your focus and attention span.
Even if you take a break and build up your mental muscle with some unscrambling, it’s still a good way to stay productive. This means you won't feel like you're wasting precious time when using such a tool.
A digital minimalist lifestyle is about striving for a meaningful work-life balance by embracing technology to achieve goals while still disconnecting from tech when necessary or wanted.
Being by yourself gives you a chance to reflect and lets you gain greater awareness of yourself by listening to your mind, body, and soul.
This is the time when we will have access to our deepest thoughts about what matters in life which leads us to think deeply about our true purpose for being on this planet.
The key principle behind this approach is awareness - awareness of not only the positives but also the negatives associated with internet and social media use and addiction. You are your own personal brand and by focusing on yourself, you will be able to learn and understand what works and what doesn’t for yourself.
Whether an entrepreneur has just started their reverse dropshipping business, is getting into affiliate marketing, or has been running ads for a while, being able to have a singularity of focus when working is crucial for success.
AuthorHanson Cheng is the founder of Freedom to Ascend. He empowers online entrepreneurs and business owners to 10x their business and become financially independent. You can connect with him here.