It all started innocuously. I created an email account, started a social media account, downloaded some apps, posted photos and videos etc.
Then my work as a communications specialist made me add more to my digital footprint. I have websites, social media accounts, blogs and hundreds of emails that I needed to check on a daily basis. There were various apps, photo and video sharing tools that I downloaded. Everything just ballooned. And boy, it was hard to keep up.
At all times of the day and night, I was connected to the digital world. I was so afraid of disconnecting lest I miss something. I used to sleep late just checking all my emails and social media. And my notifications woke me up all the time. It was all out of hand. I wasn't sleeping properly, had no time for myself and my family. And even during vacations, I was always glued to my smartphone.
That was when I knew that I needed to do my own personal digital detoxification and reclaim back my life.
This has led me to the concept of digital minimalism – “a mindset of questioning which digital communication tools are necessary for your happiness. Whether it be email, social media, or general internet consumption, the purpose of this philosophy is to question whether or not they add value to your life.”1
Remember that the key concepts here are “happiness” and “value.” Digital minimalism does not mean pulling the plug entirely on your digital world. After all, the explosion of digital tools and technologies has been quite awesome and made the world a better place. Rather, it is all about just keeping the things that are important and discarding what you don’t need.
In the beginning, digital minimalism can be difficult. Trust me, I have been through all that. But it can and should be done in order to bring back that zen and balance in your life.
Here are some simple tips on how to start:
1. Declutter. Declutter. Declutter.
It’s all about making mindful choices, really. Do you really need several social media accounts? What about your email accounts? Do you use all the apps that you have downloaded? What about your files, don’t you think it’s time to delete those temporary files and those that you’ve made years ago? Do you absolutely need to keep your 3,756++ photos and videos?
Get rid of everything that you don’t use. If you check your phone, laptop or tablet, I’m sure there are tools, apps, files, accounts, books, games etc. that you do not use. Delete them, now.
For important digital files, take the time to organize. Put them in folders and label them properly. For emails or social media accounts, especially the ones that are work-related, why not try streamlining your use? This means forwarding all work emails to just one account and using a social media management dashboard to bring all your accounts together, manage your campaigns, schedule posts etc.
2. Be mindful about your digital life.
Schedule time for tinkering with your digital life. Of course, when you are at work, that is the best time to check all your work-related emails, websites and social media accounts. If you need to do something past work hours, consider scheduling posts or email blasts. If you are at a dinner with friends, avoid checking your phone. When you are at home, set aside just an hour or two daily or a set amount of hours per week for your personal digital consumption. That way, you have time for yourself and your family.
Related Post: Debunking the Myths of Minimalist Living
3. Ensure a real-life and online-life balance.
Don’t let your online friends remain as online friends. Hang out. Find time to meet up with them over coffee, lunch or dinner or organize picnics. That way, you cultivate better relationships rather than just 'liking' their photos, commenting on their status posts or retweeting them. Remember, real-life relationships are more meaningful.
4. Find time to de-plug from your online world.
Don’t let your online world suck you in. Leave your phone and tablet off and your laptop closed by the time you get home or during weekends. This will give you time to recharge and the chance to focus on the things that matter, like cooking for your family, having barbecue with friends, playing with your kids and going on trips.
5. Stick to your guns.
Yes, it can be hard to commit to digital minimalism, especially considering the varied tools, apps and technologies available. It is important to set the rules for yourself and follow it. Otherwise, you will always be sucked into a digital vortex and before you know it, you continue to be stressed and anxious in trying to keep up with digital technologies and online life.
By applying minimalism to your digital life and not succumbing to the 24/7 demands of the online world, you will be better off, as you'll be living a healthier and more meaningful existence. Plus, you'll even be more productive that way!
Any other tips on digital minimalism? Sharing is caring so make sure to leave a comment below!
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