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Digital Minimalism

written by Matthew Rensberry on 2022-06-12

I just finished reading Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport. This is the second book of his that I have read, the other being Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World. I found it right on point and motivating to do better in life. I am personally in the process of reclaiming my high quality leisure time from low quality drags.

Digital minimalism centers on 3 principles:

  1. Clutter is costly
  2. Optimization is important
  3. Intentionality is satisfying

Digital Declutter Steps

  1. Put aside a 30 day period where you take a break from optional technologies in your life
    • “Optional” technology is any device, app, or service that you can stop using for 30 days without harming or significantly disrupting the daily flow of your personal or professional life.
    • Establish your own rules regarding how you will deal with technology beforehand
  2. During this time, explore and rediscover activities and behaviors you find satisfying and meaningful
  3. Reintroduce optional technologies into your life starting with a blank slate. For each, determine what value it serves on your life, and how specifically you will use it so as to maximize this value - Use this 3-step screen:
    1. It must serve something you deeply value
    2. Be the best way for technology to serve this value
    3. Have a roller in your life that is constrained by a standard operating procedures specifying when and how you use it

Solitude

Spend time alone with your thoughts. Some things to consider doing:

Don't click like

The philosophy of conversation-centric communication argues that conversation is the only form of interaction that in some sense counts toward maintaining a relationship. This conversation can take the form of a face-to-face meeting, or it can be a video chat or a phone call—so long as it matches Sherry Turkle’s criteria of involving nuanced analog cues, such as the tone of your voice or facial expressions. Anything textual or non-interactive - basically, all social media, email, text, and instant messaging - doesn’t count as conversation and should instead be categorized as mere connection.

To develop relationships, we need conversation not connection - a connection is like text or email - whatever we try to communicate but we're unable to read facial or other contextual cues

Reclaim high quality leisure

The Bennett Principle of 3 leisure lessons:

  1. Prioritize demanding activity over passive consumption - craft USA good activity;
  2. Use skills to produce valuable things in the physical world
  3. Seek activities that require real world structure and social interactions

Work on Your Leisure

Join the Attention Resistance

Replace passive interactions with screens with better posture use as a support role