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It crept into our lives slowly – one device at a time until there was no turning back.
We don’t have a choice anymore.
Wake up to the alarm on your smartphone. Read texts and emails. Listen to podcasts on the way to work. Stare at a computer screen for 8 hours. Go home, stare at a larger screen.
Try stopping. Try setting down the phone. It’s futile. We always crawl back.
The terror sets in once you realize the truth.
You aren’t in control of your life anymore. Our technology dictates our lives.
We live in a dystopian world where technology manipulates our every choice.
But there’s good news.
You can slip through the digital world’s grasp and free yourself from its imposing dictatorship.
You can assert your command over your time. Over your life.
Join the rebellion.
The movement is called digital minimalism.
Digital Minimalists Are Living Better than You
Digital minimalists are in control. They know what they want and they know how to use technology to achieve it.
Digital minimalists refuse to succumb to the call of the bird-chirp notification. They resist the lure of the latest online trends. They make technology bow to them, work for them; just the way it was meant to be.
Digital minimalists don’t lose their sense of time and purpose when they look through their social media feeds. They know what they want to do with their time, and they do it.
They aren’t disturbed by the unrelenting notification sounds – one after the other until you can’t help but pick up the phone and see what all the fuss is about. They aren’t disturbed because they are only notified at set times about the things that matter.
It’s time we all become digital minimalists, don’t you think?
Join The Digital Minimalism Movement
Cal Newport’s book, Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World, suggested a digital declutter.
The digital declutter is a 30-day challenge where you cut all the unnecessary technologies from your life. You use only what is absolutely necessary for you to keep your job, GPA, or relationships. No excuses and no leniency.
It’s a great idea. But let’s be honest:
The majority of us aren’t that dedicated.
You want to use less technology. You want to regain the hegemony over your own life. But you don’t want to give up Facebook!
For one, most apps want you to stop working and spend all day using them. How else would they make money?
Also, we, as human beings, like things to be easy. We like convenience and abhor change. It’s why we are so bad at building healthier habits and breaking bad ones.
Becoming a Digital Minimalist
The main characteristic of digital minimalists is they use technology without going overboard.
They know it’s OK to have a Facebook account to connect with friends as long as they don’t spend 3 hours scrolling aimlessly. Their technology use is intentional and productive.
Here’s how you can start:
Get A Usage Tracker
You can’t fix a problem before you know how bad it is. Discover which websites and apps are consuming your time. Then, select those that you’d be better off without.
Decide on Tasks For your laptop, phone, and tablet
Your phone is inches away at all times.
Want to check your email?
Reach into your pocket.
Want to watch a movie?
That’s in your pocket, too.
Want to read what Kim Kardashian’s been up to?
You guessed it—it’s in your pocket.
That’s why it’s so important to set limits.
I use my phone for texting, phone calls, and listening to podcasts. My tablet is for reading and browsing the web, including social media. Finally, my laptop is strictly for work; writing, sending emails, making videos,…etc.
With these boundaries set, I dominate over my screen time.
Set boundaries for yourself, then uninstall/disable all the apps you don’t need.
Set a timer every time you use your phone
Have you ever grabbed your phone to research something? Five minutes later, you look up and you realize that it’s actually been an hour! Plus, you forgot to do what you were supposed to do.
Yeah, that sucks.
Set a timer for however long you plan on using your phone to make sure that never happens again.
Set Really Long Lock Screen Passwords
Do you reach for your phone every free moment?
Here’s a solution:
Set a really long, hard-to-type password. Something like, “dOnTYOUHaveSoMeThiNGBetteRtoDo?”
OK, maybe not that hard to type, but you get the point.
With a password like that, you’ll only unlock your phone when you really need to use it. You can set similar passwords for your laptop and tablet.
Technology has improved our lives beyond means. But we’ve reached a point where it’s become so consuming that our lives are heading downhill. We need to cut back at some point, so why not today?
I challenge you to grab a piece of paper and set your technology limits right now. Abide by them like they’re the law. Then watch as your life transforms for the better.