Social media is great and all but I realised that social media is starting to "own" us. Stealing our time and productivity every day. Are you aware of how much technology has affected us all? Ask yourself, how much time did you spend on your phone the past week when all that time, could have been used in either playing a game of sports with friends or having a good face-to-face meetup with an old friend? We all crave for technology. The average person spends almost 3 hours per day on the mobile phone. Life happens when you look up and around you, not your screen.
How then can we be more mindful around our technology? How can we build a better and healthier relationship with technology?
I came across this book called Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport. This book describes how we as an individual to identify the things of distraction and addiction. Mastering the art of self-control and being a minimalist. The word minimalism or minimalist sounds mainstream and over diluted in our society but as a matter of fact, "minimalism" is about our mindset. It's never about owning only a few pieces of clothing or a tiny house with nothing but a mattress and zero waste. It's not about that friend of you that likes to wear clean and simplistic clothes or own a Macbook Air. It's about living with intention and make room and time for things that matter to you.
As a person who requires me to use a laptop and a phone to stay connected and able to do my work, I might sound like a hypocrite by saying we should use less of technology and learn to have more meaningful relationships regardless of where and when we are. But digital minimalism is not about deleting or rejecting the wonders of the internet but to reject the way we're engaged in it. Cal Newport described it so beautifully on what digital minimalism is all about.
Digital minimalism definitively does not reject the innovations of the internet age, but instead reject the way so many people currently engage with these toolsCal Newport
30 Day Challenge
In around mid of June 2019, I took up the challenge of quitting/fasting from Social Media for 30 days. It was a challenging feat as I was extremely addicted to social media. On average, I was spending 1 hour on Instagram, a minimum of 2 hours of YouTube daily. My definition of social media includes Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube. This is the apps that I used during my free time to destress. During the 30 days, my experience of not using social media opened up my eyes to the amount of time I had gained by not using social media. I managed to gain a total of 4 extra hours per day during my 30-day challenge. In the pursuit of knowledge, I decided to read more books during my fasting. Within one month, I was able to complete 2 books in just 30 days. A feat that I've never accomplished before! For some context, it would normally on average takes me 1 to 2 months for me to completely read finish a book. In a nutshell, this 30-day challenge opened up my eyes to the possibility of exploring and creating new habits, from exercising, building a healthy sleep routine, intentionally catching up with friends and improving my reading.
Yes, some might say, all of this can be done without the challenge but what's to stop us from changing our old habits to dive into the unknown and trying out new things? This challenge is not to prove that we can't do anything productive without it but to show that we need a change of status quo to shake things up. Below was the first video that challenged me and forced me to get out of my comfort zone and try something different. You should definitively check it out.
Digital Minimalism exists in any form, from using your computer intentionally to having a better phone experience. We all have a choice, to either ignore it or start afresh by regaining control of our lives and be intentional with the use of our technology. Let's start becoming intentional with what we choose to do and own and how it impacts our way of living and thinking about life 😉