Minimalism has gained popularity in the past few years with books, blogs, and podcasts dedicated to this movement.But what is minimalism? According to The Minimalist, “minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.” There is a common misconception that minimalism is about physical possessions but it also deals with digital clutter.
With the modernization of mobile devices, the use of phones had been convenient and all-around. That is why we are lead to the belief that being with our devices 24/7 is essential to our lives. We justify our online omnipresence with personal, career, and business growth. We let our notification pops distract us. We have the fear of missing out on the latest and juiciest updates. This set-up created anxiety that if we don’t check our phones every moment we get, we are not relevant anymore. This is where digital minimalism comes in. Computer science professor and Deep Work author Cal Newport defines digital minimalism as
“a philosophy 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”.
Minimizing the impact of social media would give us time for rewarding and valuable pursuits. In Newport’s digital declutter experiment, his participants shared their stories on their break from social media. They mentioned about giving time for other activities like finishing a manuscript, reading a book, painting, taking walks, starting a blog, playing chess among others.
These analog ways provide richer entertainment compared to the passive and endless scrolling of social media feeds. We are natural tinkerers and a solid project gives us a fulfillment that passive Internet use can’t provide. With lots of free time in our hands, we could go for endeavors that give the most value for us.
Digital minimalism teaches us to be more intentional and deliberate with how we utilize the Internet. Removing unnecessary fluffs in our lives will give us the freedom from the rat race of the consumerist culture. It liberates us from the anxiety that we are missing out on something important even if we don’t.
Let’s put our devices down.
Don’t let the fear of missing out control us.
Because we are more than the pings of our phones.