A Few Practices in Digital Minimalism

Ever since starting the blog, I’ve been on my devices way more than I’d like to admit. So I’ve started practicing digital minimalism to help me work more efficiently while I’m online. (No, I haven’t read the book by Cal Newport.)

Here’s a few practices that have helped me. Maybe they’ll help you, too.

1. Put your phone on airplane mode an hour before bed.

Alternatively, turn it off. For bonus points, turn your phone off and leave it in a different room than the one you’ll be sleeping in.

This practice has helped me get to sleep much quicker. No blue light exposure, no jittery feeling of “oh my god I need to respond to that…” Just peace and quiet.

And if you simply must use your devices before bed, consider step two.

2. Install f.lux

f.lux is an app that gradually replaces your device’s blue light with a soft, brown hue. Great for working late into the night.

3. Keep only the necessary apps.

Go through the list of all installed apps. Remove each app that you haven’t used in the last two weeks (if you’re able to remove them. Factory installed apps don’t count). This step mostly applies to phones. Though there might be apps on your computer that are just taking up space.

3.5. Use cross-device apps.

Use apps that work across multiple devices. Like Evernote. This makes it much easier to work in one place. You’ll no longer be switching between devices to find those documents that you swear you opened ten minutes ago.

4. Intention.

Intention is the meta-step of knowing why you’re on your device. Have a plan – a why. It’s the step that I struggle with the most. After finishing up whatever task I had planned, I can’t help but feel like I need to be doing more. So I’ll get on Twitter. And then after being on Twitter for 15 minutes, I’ll feel guilty for not having done anything productive. So then I’ll open Evernote and a page from a book that I want to write about, and start outlining a piece of content. Productivity restored. Except, not really.

At that point, I’m playing productivity theater. Instead, I should be giving myself a break.

To wrap up, taking a break is exactly what digital minimalism is about. It’s about working on our devices more efficiently, so that we have more time to ourselves and our families.

If you have any digital minimalism practices that have worked for you, let me know. I’d love to hear from you.

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