Most have heard the term declutter. It’s usually in context of getting rid of things in your home, car, and/or office. I had been slowly doing this for years, with only some success. Then I moved to California, which forced my hand. The decision had been made, no moving truck, one carful of things (a Mazda3 Hatchback), and a few boxes to be shipped in the mail.
This led to only keeping the essentials, the things I couldn’t buy again or would be prohibitively expensive. I absolutely loved this. Finally I got rid of the vast majority of my things, and the small amount of stuff I couldn’t part with and couldn’t bring with me was stored at a family member’s house until I could take care of it at another time.
Digital stuff isn’t quite so easy and it’s not necessarily about all the files on your computer, although that can be a mess for a lot of people. This digital declutter is about removing distractions and addictive websites and apps from my life. Places like Reddit, Instagram, and YouTube are my biggest culprits. All of them have value, but not all of them bring value commiserate to the time I spend on them.
For a while I’ve been seeing people leaving social media or taking breaks and I was intrigued, but never took the step. With the guidance of Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism book I am doing so now. 1 Month or 30 days without the use of these technologies (February 20th – March 20th, 2019).
The first goal of this is to recalibrate how I use technology. To use them with intention and not get sucked down into a rabbit hole of top 10 videos, interesting (but not really useful) articles and discussions on Reddit, and keeping up with everything on Instagram.
The second goal is to interface with the real world a lot more, to become resistant to instant boredom if I’m not constantly entertained, to have better and more meaningful interactions with people and places around me. I will document this process through this blog and through my camera.
The third goal is to be as productive as I possible can. I have many projects, books, and things to accomplish. Keep checking back for updates!
Here is what I am doing (Starting February 20th, 2019):
- Mobile phone will only make sound for phone calls. All distracting apps deleted. Text messages checked between intervals of Deep Work (1-3 hour blocks of concentrated work). I believe this will allow my business to continue, but stop the constant checking of my phone. Phone kept out of immediate reach. Watch to be worn to prevent time & date checking.
- Email will be checked daily at 4:30am & 4:30pm as well as at noon for business emails. All non-necessary subscriptions will be taken off, and the rest will be added to a program called Pocket, to be read on Weekend mornings.
- Reddit, Facebook, Instagram – all banned completely, with Reddit exception for researching specific topics that come up through google searches (last resort).
- YouTube will be banned – with exception to specific channels that bring immense value and during research. This will be a very hard one for me as it’s my biggest time killer.
- Netflix, Amazon Prime, Plex – Not banned, but with operating rules. One movie or TV show allowed on non-sequential days. I will be alternating between modern movies and ones on the Sight & Sound 250 with the intention to learn storytelling, filmmaking, cinematography, and to provide quality, thoughtful entertainment. Also to write about them and improve my writing and analysis skills. This rule will be off in the case of social reasons.