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Adpoting Digital Minimalism

Updated: Oct 10, 2020

Digital Minimalism is a MUST READ for the Generation Z who grew up using social media and continuously consume the new products that emerge e.g. TikTok as well as the existing (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Linkedin). Well, that is if they feel addicted to their tech devices such as phones, laptops, Ipads etc with no escape consequently depleting their quality of life beyond technology.

The book written by Cal Newport (author of So Good They Can’t Ignore you and Deep Work), is constructed in two parts.

PART ONE: Newport sets the foundation where he outlines the reasons you might feel addicted to social media, with #1 being it is purposely engineered to profit from your attention. Human attention is a finite resource so digital companies invest in gaining the most market share in the attention economy. (Your attention sells to advertisers – so at any costs the social media tycoons are willing to keep you online). Newport introduces a philosophy known as digital minimalism adopted to gain control of how you spend your time online.

Digital Minimalism: A philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time on a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support things you value, and then happily miss out on everything else.

To adopt a digital minimalism approach, he encourages everyone to take a 30 day digital declutter. To successfully carry out the declutter he advises using these three steps:

Step 1: Define your technology rules‍ e.g. what social media apps are you deleting? Or are you banning yourself from watching Netflix alone to avoid binge-watching?

Step 2: Take a thirty-day break‍ – using higher quality activities to fill in the pockets of extra time you may have after removing optional technologies

Step 3: Reintroduce technology‍ - after your 30 days declutter. ONLY optional technologies that you essentially need and deeply value. Have rules with when and how you use it. If you feel nothing is worth reintroducing, then don’t.

PART TWO: Newport explains tried and tested practices for individuals to follow during their digital declutter to best support them.

  1. Leave your phone at home when it is not critical to be brought out e.g. going for a walk

  2. Take long walks‍

  3. Write letters to yourself‍ (journal)

  4. Don’t click the “like”‍ button – EVER

  5. Consolidate texting‍ – set a time to bulk text or reply

  6. Hold conversation office hours – set a time when you’re always available for conversation

Also, he emphasises the purpose of these practices is not to be anti-social but to reclaim high-quality leisure time instead of indulging in low-quality digital distractions.

Leisure lesson #1: Prioritize demanding activity over passive consumption.

Leisure lesson #2: Use skills to produce valuable things in the physical world.‍

Leisure lesson #3: Seek activities that require real-world, structured social interactions.

These leisure lessons are aimed at increasing your quality of leisure is accompanied by some practices below.

1. Fix or build something every week‍

2. Schedule your low-quality leisure‍ (e.g. time spent on the phone mindlessly scrolling)

3. Join something‍ (e.g. a sports team or membership club)

4. Follow leisure plans‍

5. Delete social media from your phone‍

6. Use social media like a professional‍ (every interaction with social media should have a purpose)

7. Dumb down your smartphone ( https://www.thelightphone.com/ is a great example)


In conclusion, I highly recommend this book to all who want a guide to reduce their use of technology whilst optimising the time spent on it to produce valuable results. Especially for those who want to develop their friendships offline and increase the quality of their leisure time.


If you’re reading this I’ve most likely started my own digital declutter and will be implementing these practices going forward. I’ll slowly post updates of my progress throughout the rest of the year. Until then, stay blessed.

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