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How Digital Minimalism can Simplify Your Life

Our time spent in the digital world might not be experienced exactly how we want it to be. Tech often feels like it’s controlling us and feeds us content that is designed to keep us connected for prolonged periods and that is coordinated with our interests to generate advertising dollars.

Often, we don’t have as much control as we think we do in the virtual world. It’s important to make the time we spend more intentional. I’ve prepared several minimalist digital habits that can help you to regain control back into your digital life.

Track Your Screen Time

Tracking your screen time can help to provide valuable data about how you use your devices. You can’t manage what can’t be measured. While numbers and analytics are great tools for you to know where you are today and how you can improve for the better in the future. It’s a great way to start your digital minimalism journey.

The second you realize just how much time you spend online, you’ll begin to take steps in minimizing unnecessary usage. Taking steps like removing the phone out of the bed will help to improve sleep. It’s a known fact that screen exposure will affect our sleep quality as the blue light will suppress our melatonin and delay our circadian rhythm.

Turn on Night Shift

Adjusting our devices to enable night shift turned on to adjust the screen’s color to a warmer tone for our eyes. Studies have shown the value of dimming screens and adjusting them at night to help prevent strain on the eyes and long-term damage. Using devices on regular settings as compared to the night shift. will remain consistent simply with a dim screen tone.

The ultimate goal would be to stop using our phones 30 mins to an hour before sleeping. While this is tough to imagine for many of us, it’s why we ended up using it way past our sleeping time which is shown to reduce sleep duration and made us extra groggy in the morning.

Replace Screens with Other Activities

Apps have been built to be addictive, scrolling through social media before our sleeping and early in the morning is something many of us already do. To eliminate these addictive habits we need a replacement for us to remove this. It could be journaling, reading, meditating, or getting physical exercise. One good way for us to execute this is to place our phone in a different room, this effective solution removes the queue of unlocking our devices and spending time on them.

Associating devices with individual use cases can also help to minimize usage. A multipurpose computer for gaming and work can lead to hours of wasted time and may not be an optimal solution. Ensuring your bedroom is purely for sleep can also help.

Notifications

Notifications are one of the biggest distractions in our digital era. What other distractions existed before the introduction of a smartphone? I can’t think of any. Notification enables every ring, vibration, or light to make us curious. We stop focusing, turn our heads and divert our attention to the notification. This leads to hours and hours spent on our phones.

The truth is that more than half of the time those notifications are pretty useless. Taking time to filter out what notifications you allow to appear on your device and not accepting every piece of information helps in reducing their impact on distracting your attention.

Take note that these steps do not need to be too extreme when it comes to removing notifications. Some of them serve us well as a good reminder, make sure you find a healthy balance between what’s important and not. I missed a few emails and alerts that needed immediate action, like verification codes. Make sure to disable carefully, learn from my mistakes, and don’t be minimal for the sake of being minimal.

Going Analog

While the convenience of having every single tool at easy disposal on your phone. Whenever you unlock your phone for a single task, due to its multipurpose quality it will eventually lead you to a path of doing something unrelated to the first task.

For example, from checking the time to opening your social media to scrolling through online shops. Distractions can easily occur. Having a physical alarm clock, writing notes on a physical notepad, taking pictures with a standalone camera, and reading physical books instead of articles on your phone can all help.

Curate Your Content

Despite digital minimalism, it’s obvious many of us don’t want to eliminate social media from our lives. Like many, I still see value in it. Apps like Instagram and Snapchat can help us find inspiration for interior design, photography, tattoos, coffee, plants, and so much more and can allow us to connect with friends and family. Optimizing our apps by muting and unfollowing accounts is critical.

The explore page on Instagram is always a source of new inspiration. If I see any post that I don’t like, I’ll let the system know by telling them that I’m not interested. The same goes for YouTube. If it recommends videos that I have no interest in, the “not interested button” is there to help.

While it’s impossible to control the algorithm, you can always ‘tame’ it and prevent the system from feeding random content to you. If social media acts as a distraction, then don’t use it when you know you shouldn’t.

That’s more important than curating the content you consume. It’s all about discipline, knowing when you should and should not utilize it is the reason why we need to have a routine. Building systems for you to use your phone effectively and creating habits will ingrain healthy rules in your mind helping to kill habits of picking up your phone mindlessly just because you’re bored.

I use the forest app to ban me from browsing the websites or apps I shouldn’t visit when I’m supposed to stay focused.

Organize Files & Apps

The habit of organizing your digital space regularly is essential as well. We often declutter and organize our physical living spaces but fail to address the importance of our digital spaces. Don’t forget to dedicate time to reorganize your work files, backup photos, delete emails, and remove unwanted apps.

Our devices act as productive tools for many of us, we wouldn’t want to be overwhelmed by digital files to the point it paralyzes our daily lives. Set the right day and right time for your to keep your digital space clean. The process is therapeutic and seeing those empty digital spaces are incredibly calming.

Taking steps to minimize our digital spaces and our digital lives overall will help simplify our lives and further develop a life with purpose.

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