How does one choose a focused life in a noisy world?
Do you sometimes feel like you’re addicted to your phone? Do you sometimes feel like the possibility of missing out often outweigh and take time from the things you know that have value?
Our current relationship with the technologies of our hyper connected world is unsustainable and is leading us closer to leading lives of quiet desperation. We cannot passively allow the wild tangle of tools, entertainments and distractions provided by the internet age to dictate how we spend our time or how we feel. We must, then take steps to extract the goods from these technologies while sidestepping what’s bad. In this era of digital noise, a new type of philosophy is required; a philosophy that prioritizes long term meaning over short term satisfaction. A philosophy like digital minimalism.
The founding President of Facebook, Sean Parker, in the fall of 2017, spoke candidly at an event about the attention engineering deployed by his former company:
Even Bill Maher joked that the App Store was coming for our souls. When we increasingly cede autonomy to the digital, we diminish our soul’s authority. How do we best use new technologies for our best aspirations and not against them? Digital minimalism is one such strategy.
“Digital minimalism is a philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time on a small number of carefully selected things you value, and then happily miss out on everything else. “ - Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport
Principles of Digital Minimalism:
Principle #1: Clutter is costly
Principle #2: Optimization is important.
Principle #3: Intentionality is satisfying.
The Digital Declutter Process:
Put aside a thirty day period during which you will take a break from optional tech in your life.
During this time, explore and rediscover activities and behaviours that you find satisfying and meaningful.
At the end of the break, reintroduce optional technologies back into your life, starting from a blank state. For each technology you reintroduce, determine what value it serves in your life and how you will specifically use it so as to maximize this value.
These ideas are explored in an awesome book titled “Digital Minimalism” by Cal Newport. If you feel that you can be more creative and productive in your life, but feel that tech is maybe getting in your way, then I highly suggest reading this book.