Digital Minimalism

{14} Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World “It’s easy to be seduced by the small amounts of profit offered by the latest app or service, but then forget its cost in terms of the most important resource we possess: the minutes of our life.”

This is one of the most important books I have read in a long time. As someone who struggles to maintain a healthy balance between my online life and my real one, this book came at just the right time. While I didn’t agree with every single practice that Newport puts forth here, I was truly compelled by the philosophical underpinnings of some of his main arguments. My relationship with technology will be forever changed as a result of this remarkable book.

Here are a few of my main takeaways:

1.) Social media is best used only when it aligns with the things that we value. We must choose our digital devices/apps with the utmost of intentionality. This intentionality includes not only what devices/apps to use but also how we use them. The key is that we are using the apps—and they are not using us in the form of the precious minutes of our lives.

2.) It is good, healthy, and productive for us to spend some time completely alone—not just alone, but without a device to continuously pump sound and information into our ears. Newport argues that some of our best growth as humans comes from time spent walking, pondering, thinking—time that we so often neglect in our noise-filled world.

3.) There is literally no substitute for face-to-face conversation. No like button, or tiny heart, or comment bar can replace old-fashion in-person conversation. Newport even goes so far as to encourage readers not to like or comment on social media. While I don’t necessarily agree that it needs to be completely eliminated, I do wholeheartedly agree that it absolutely cannot replace the real deal in terms of human connectivity—actually talking to a person that is in front of you.

I’ve actually made some pretty radical changes as a result of reading this book. I have all my third-party apps removed from my phone for a large portion of the day. I’ve limited my social media time significantly, and I only use my apps at designated times of the day—times that I know are in low demand for my day-to-day responsibilities. In just a few short days, I can honestly tell that my quality of life has improved. I love my online connections, and I want to use them in a way that enhances my life and does not steal from it. This book is showing me the way.

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