‘Digital minimalism,’ is not just a fad, it’s the need of the digital hour. This is what Cal Newport argues in his recently released book titled ‘Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World.’ We are all obsessed with technology, be it smartphones, laptops or various gadgets that make up the smart life. The lines are blurred to
Cal Newport’s earlier works include ‘Deep Work,’ which argued that in today’s tech-dominated world the new IQ is ‘focus.’ His latest book builds on similar principles and conducts an in-depth analysis of digital minimalists and how they focus on different aspects of life. If you are at the other end of the spectrum i.e. Digital maximalists then this book will certainly come
For Cal Newport, digital minimalism means that you design a life philosophy regarding the use of specific format of technology and deciding the best manner of using them. This enables a person to ignore digital distractions and focus on
The first chapter labelled ‘A lopsided arms race,’ begins with a quote from Andrew Sullivan, “An endless bombardment of news and gossip and images has rendered us, manic information addicts. It broke me. It might break you, too. ” The chapter goes on to describe that social media and technology in the twenty-first century might have positive uses in some cases. However, in an overall
The second chapter focuses on ‘digital minimalism,’ which allows you to focus on carefully selected online activities that complement your ingrained values and happily ignore everything else. The three principles of this phenomenon are:
1) Clutter is expensive.
2) Importance should be placed on optimization.
3) Intentionality is comforting.
Cal Newport places emphasis on developing principles for the use of technology and explains that a cost-benefit analysis is the beginning of this phase. This principle served Cal Newport very well because according to this technique he never used Facebook himself, because he didn’t understand a need for it.
‘The Digital Declutter,’ is the third chapter and provides
Chapter 3 – The Minimalist technology screen
The process of selecting which technologies are required after the de-clutter process is described below:
1) The tech must serve something that is deeply valued in life.
2) It should be the best method to serve the aforementioned value. If its replaceable by a more effective and efficient method then adopt that one.
3) The most important point is the how and why of usage. For this purpose a standard operating procedure must exist containing clear guideline.
The fourth chapter is titled ‘Spend time alone,’ and deals with life after the 30-day de-clutter process. Habits are formed over a period of time and hence
Some practical measures that are helpful are as follows:
1) Embarking on long walks without the presence of a mobile phone.
2) Leaving home without the smartphone as solitude is unattainable with this overwhelming distraction.
3) At times when hard decisions are required or complications arise, write letters addressed to yourself.
The fifth chapter is titled ‘Don’t click like.’ The basis of this chapter is in Newport’s theory about the need for conversation-centric communication. This form of communication can include a phone call, video chatting or ideally a face to face meeting. These interactions are the foundations of real relationships and since ‘man is a social animal,’ they are essential to our emotional well being. At the other end of the spectrum is the need for a connection which can include liking something on social media, texting etc. There is a possibility that the low-quality connection might transform into a high-quality conversation but in majority of the cases this won’t happen.
In practical measures, the suggestions are:
1) Low-quality connections are reached through liking or commenting on social media. In order to improve emotional mindset, the reader must shun any adoption of connections as compared to real conversation. In practical terms this might mean calling a person instead of just liking his/her post.
2) To avoid incessant texting, the phone should be placed in the ‘Do not disturb,’ mode.
3) During office hours, set aside dedicated time for conversation, based on workload.
The sixth chapter is titled ‘Reclaim leisure,’ and discusses how high-quality leisure should be planned. The writer explains at the outset that leisure
Three important leisure lessons are:
1) Passive consumption to be substituted with demanding activities.
2) A goal-centric approach whereby important things that serve value must be built with available skills.
3) Activities like team exercises should be adopted wherein structured social interactions are integrated.
The practical suggestions include:
1) Devoting a specific time each week to building or fixing something.
2) Low-quality leisure should be scheduled in advance.
3) The interaction with fellow citizens is important and social fitness, sporting leagues, PTA, volunteer work etc. all contribute towards this objective, based on one’s preferences.
4) A seasonal plan (quarterly or trimester) should be devised which clearly states objectives and habits.
Specific scheduling should be used to design a weekly leisure plan.
The seventh chapter is described as ‘Join the Attention Resistance.’ The attention is towards a concept
This hit and run methodology
The step-by-step process is as follows:
1) The first step is dumbing down your smartphone to serve specific needs. This might include deleting all non-essential apps that aren’t aligned with high values.
2) All smartphones/laptops serve
3) Social media should be used as a professional. Use advanced filtering to achieve the specific, groups, influencers and family-friends you need to connect with.
4) Social media should be deleted from the phone to avoid unintentional use on the go. Complete withdrawal from social media is not required.
5) High-quality media should be embraced as it provides value.
Digital minimalism is
Author: Mahmood Anwar
Get the book, ebook or audiobook from here: Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life