When you hear about minimalism, the digital part is often left out. I think it’s actually the most difficult part of minimalism. We tend to keep a lot of things on our computers or phones. Being organized is easy when it’s about your house but it’s really difficult to be digitally organized with ALL the information that is received daily on every device.
It’s easy to lose the motivation to even do a clean up of your photos on your phone!
As I wrote in my Free workbook on minimalism, digital minimalism is crucial to feel all the benefits of this lifestyle. Even if your home is clean and minimalist, you can’t enjoy all the benefits of minimalism if your computer or your phone is a mess.
It was the last part of my life that hadn’t become minimalist. But I thought it was really difficult to activate the process of digital minimalism.
Every time that I don’t know how to begin a new aspect of something, I read a good book, and the number one book to read if you want to become a digital minimalist is *drum roll* “Digital Minimalism” from Cal Newport! I know you didn’t expect this!
His book is really really great and it gives you easy tips to start your journey of digital minimalism.
In his book, Cal Newport gives us a definition of Digital Minimalism that made sense to me the minute I read it :
Digital minimalism is a philosophy that helps you question what digital communication tools (and behaviors surrounding these tools) add the most value to your life. It is motivated by the belief that intentionally and aggressively clearing away low-value digital noise, and optimizing your use of the tools that really matter, can significantly improve your life.
Today, if you want to use digital tools intentionally, read the following steps.
Benefits of becoming a digital minimalist
You maybe think that digital minimalism is not for you but there are a lot of benefits. Here is an non exhaustive list of digital minimalism benefits :
- You can start things or activities that you want to start for a long time
- You have more quality time for you and your family
- You realize what is important in your life because you have time to think about that.
- You save a lot of money
- You compare yourself less with others
How to start your digital minimalism journey
If you want to become a digital minimalist, there are two ways :
- You can decide to do a digital detox to know exactly what are the apps or the tools that you really need in your life
- Or you can start slowly and decide to do it one step at a time
1- Declutter your digital life
In all the areas of minimalism, declutter is always the first step. And obviously, it applies here too.
How much time do you spend looking for a file on your computer or an app on your phone? How much time did you spend online shopping after receiving a promo code on a newsletter even if you didn’t need anything?
Phones take a great deal of our leisure time. Probably too much. Everyone has too many apps that they don’t use. Do you see the selfie that you took hundreds of times and never deleted?
Take your phone and ask yourself these questions :
- (For apps) Did I use this app during the last month? Why didn’t I use it?
- (For photos) Does this picture bring me joy? Do I want to keep it?
Then turn off your notifications. I did it and Oh My God! I spend a lot less time checking it!
Alright, it might not be the easiest step! And it sure isn’t the most exciting one! But you will end up finding emails that you’ve been searching for for months!
For this step, take a morning or an afternoon because it will take a lot of time. Put some music on and just do it. I will tell you a pro tip: if you don’t aim to finish it in one day, you’ll never finish it!
Here is the best way to do it :
- Organize your files
- Unsubscribe from newsletters
- Delete all the mail that you don’t need
Do you have a computer desktop full of files? Are you desperate when you have to find a file on your computer?
Do the same step as to declutter your mailbox: organize your files, delete applications, programs, and files you don’t need anymore. Make sure you end up seeing your wallpaper clearly from now on!
2- Make a plan of what you will do instead of watching your screen
You need to be prepared because it will be too hard for you if you don’t have something to do instead of idling and scrolling social media.
For example, it’s really easy to go home and watch Netflix. Instead of this, prepare a to-do list or start an activity that you will enjoy doing in the evening. tart to workout, prepare a good meal. Or maybe you want to start something new like knitting or starting a blog or whatever.
3- “Plan” your digital life
You can decide to check social media when you’re commuting or you can choose to dedicate one or two hours to your blog each evening. But you have to decide what you need to do to not be sucked by the internet maze. It’s important to timebox your digital activities.
4- Do a digital detox
Actually, I’ve started my digital minimalism journey the “extreme” way, by doing a digital detox. It sounded easier to delete all the apps and to really use digital tools with intention.
If you want to do a digital detox, check my blog post about it. I give you a lot of tips to prepare and to survive a whole month of digital detox!
My experience with digital minimalism
I was really glad to do a whole month of digital detox because it really helped me to know exactly the tools that I needed daily. It also helped me to dedicate more time to others like my family, my friends and to do things I always wanted to start.
One month after the end of my digital detox, I’ve added a few applications on my phone but I have not changed my phone plan. I also spend less time on my computer because I really know what I need to do when I’m on it.
There are things that remain difficult. I can’t wait for someone or something (like a train) without my phone. When I know that I will wait (like in a doctor’s waiting room), I take my book but if it’s for 5 minutes, it’s impossible to not take my phone.
Do you have any suggestions about that?
If you’re interested in minimalism but you don’t know how to start, check my FREE workbook with 5 easy steps to become a minimalist!