Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport
My rating: 5/10
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New technologies can distract or support your life. Use the ones that suppot your values and quit the others.
People don’t succumb to screens because they’re lazy, but because billions of dollars have been invested to make this outcome inevitable.
The tycoons of social media have to stop pretending that they’re friendly nerd gods building a better world and admit they’re just tobacco farmers in T-shirts selling an addictive product to children. Because, let’s face it, checking your “likes” is the new smoking - Bill Maher.
The Digital Declutter:
Put aside a thirty-day period during which you will take a break from optional technologies in your life. (Optional technologies = its temporary removal doesn’t harm or disrupt the daily operation of your professional life).
Explore and rediscover activities and behaviours that you find satisfying and meaningful.
At the end reintroduce optional technologies into your life, starting from a blank slate. Determine how specifically you will use it so as to maximise its value.
— Does this technology directly support something that I deeply value? The fact that it offers some value is irrelevant — the digital minimalist deploys technology to serve the things they find most important in their life, and is happy missing out on everything else.
— Second question: Is this technology the best way to support this value? Then, how am I going to use this technology going forward to maximise its value and minimise its harms? And when?
1. Spend time alone
Solitude is a prerequisite for original and creative thought. Benefits: new ideas, an understanding of the self, closeness to others (experiencing separation builds your appreciation for interpersonal connections when they occur).
Practice: Leave your smartphone at home.
Practice: Take long walks.
2. Don’t click “like”
Face-to-face conversation is the most human -and humanizing- thing we do. Connection is not an alternative to conversation; it’s its supporter.
Stop leaving comments on social media. These seemingly innocuous interactions teach your mind that connection is a reasonable alternative to conversation. If you eliminate them you send your mind a clear message: conversation is what counts.
3. Reclaim leisure
Prioritise demanding activity over passive consumption.
Use skills to produce valuable things in the physical world (Craft).
Seek activities that require real-world, structured social interactions (fitness group, volunteer…).
- Practice: Schedule your low-quality leisure
You can’t build a billion-dollar empire like Facebook if you’re wasting hours every day using a service like Facebook.
Work out the specific time periods when you’ll indulge in web surfing, social media checking, and entertainment streaming. The vast majority of the value these services provide is as little as twenty to forty minutes use per week.
4. Join the Attention Resistance
Practice: Delete social media from your phone
Practice: Use social media like a professional
Practice: Embrace slow media
Limit your attention to the best of the best, the small number of people who have proved to be world class on the topics you care about. That have proved to be reliably smart and insightful with their writing.
Isolate your news consumption to set times during the week.