Minimalism is becoming more popular and now there’s a new type of minimalism that people are choosing. Digital minimalism. As our society has become so intoxicated and addicted to technology, it doesn’t surprise me that so many are choosing to reduce their screen time.
Digital minimalism allows you to take your life back and stop wasting all your time scrolling, tapping, and double-tapping. It’s neither good for our health nor our minds.
I genuinely think everyone should become a digital minimalist. Or at least everyone should try it. It certainly isn’t something you will regret.
What is digital minimalism?
Digital minimalism is quite simple. It encourages us to have a healthier relationship with technology and use it more intentionally. Currently, we carry some kind of gadget with us everywhere we go and we pick it up and start scrolling without even realizing it.
When you start becoming a digital minimalist, you start spending less time in front of a screen and start being more productive when you are using it.
How to practice digital minimalism
Digital minimalism is not some difficult concept. But it also won’t happen overnight either. It’s about taking small steps every day. As a digital minimalist, you will keep your online spaces decluttered, use technology less but better, and most importantly you won’t be addicted to checking your notifications every two minutes.
Apps and websites are specifically designed to be addictive. They want us to spend as much time as possible in order for them to gain as much money. But this is not good for our health. We need to break out of this habit and spend more time in the ‘real world’.
Changing your mindset and the way you think about your phone is crucial. If you have the same thinking as before, nothing will change. Start considering your phone and computer as assets that you can use to make yourself a better person. Don’t think of them as a way to spend time when you’re bored.
(Keep reading to find a free, downloadable 30-day digital minimalism challenge)
25 Tips For Digital Minimalism
Here are 25 tips on how to declutter your online space as well as tips on reducing your screen time. When starting a minimalistic lifestyle, decluttering your home is just the beginning. Decluttering your phone and computer is equally important because it sucks too much of our time.
01. Track your online time
First of all, you need to know how much time you are actually spending on your phone and computer. Knowing exactly how many hours you spend in front of your phone can be a real eye-opener and motivational to make you change your lifestyle.
02. Turn off notifications
I hate notification sounds. Every time someone’s phone beeps, my anxiety levels go up. It’s so annoying how everyone is controlled by their gadgets. We can’t get any peace. Every two minutes, someone’s phone goes off and they automatically pick it up and check without even thinking.
To get some peace and to stop being controlled by your phone, go to settings and turn all notifications off. Contrary to common belief, you don’t need to be updated every minute and every second of the day. Embrace simple living and slow down.
03. Delete unwanted photos
We all have plenty of photos that are useless. Or we have 100 of the same photo just at a different angle. Take the time one day and delete some of your photos. Clear up your gallery and your future self will thank you. It will also save you from paying more for storage later on.
04. Use the Cloud
After deleting photos that are of no use to you, make sure they are uploaded on the Cloud. Choose the photos and files that you don’t really use but still want to keep and put them on the Cloud to clear up space on your phone.
Also, backup files from your computer on google drive or something similar so that you don’t lose anything. Make sure you do regular backups. Another option is using an external drive. Pick whichever is more convenient for you.
05. Delete apps
Delete apps (or software on your computer) that you are not using and are just taking up space. I used to have so many apps and kept them just in case I needed them. But after I deleted them, I didn’t even think about them.
So declutter your screen. Therefore every time you log on to your devices, it won’t seem like you have a billion different apps to check. Your time is too precious.
06. Have fewer folders
On your computer, there are bound to be folders called ‘New folder’ or ‘Untitled 1’. Sort out your files and put all your files in fewer folders. Make it so it’s easy to navigate through. Make subfolders within to sort everything you have.
07. Make files searchable
I used to spend quite a bit of time trying to find old files. Because I was too lazy to name all my files, I had to search through hundreds of documents or photos on my laptop to find what I wanted. To save yourself some time, name everything in your documents, so when the time comes you will find what you want very easily and fast.
08. Install updates
This is to speed things up but it will also remove that update notification. I like having notifications at 0. That’s the sweet spot. Keep everything tidy and stay on top of things. By updating your software you will also make them faster and more efficient which will free up a bit of your time every day. Update apps, software, and anything else.
09. Clear your emails
I like having 0 emails in my inbox. So once a day I take the time to look through my emails and either reply to them or delete them. I hate having loads of emails. It just stresses me out. But now I don’t get that many since I’ve unsubscribed from most websites which brings us on to the next point.
10. Delete subscriptions
Whether they are free or paid, having useless subscriptions is a waste of time and energy. If it’s something that doesn’t really add any value to your life, unsubscribe. When you get spam emails or a website you no longer care about sends you an email, scroll down, and click unsubscribe. Don’t let your inbox get filled with unwanted promotions.
Go through your social media platforms and unfollow people you don’t want to be following. Don’t clutter your feed with useless information and people you don’t care about. Make your social platform a place for growth and to learn new things. Not to waste your time looking through people’s ‘perfect’ lives and feel bad about yourself.
Don’t stop using social media completely, use it smarter. You can learn so much from it by following motivational and informative accounts that help you become a better person.
12. Go through your contacts
There are some people in your contacts that you will never message or call again. So instead of letting them take up space on your phone, remove them. It is crazy how many people’s numbers accumulate on your phone. There were some contacts on my phone that I didn’t even know who they were.
13. Close the tabs
At night or in the evening, make sure all tabs and apps are closed. Then switch off your computer and phone completely, ready for the next day. Having many things open when you wake up is likely to make you less productive in the morning.
14. Put your tech devices in a different room
When you want to get things done for work or if you simply want to relax, don’t let technology distract you. Put them in a different room, as far away as possible so that you don’t have that urge to pick them up.
Have you heard of the 20-second rule? It’s where you put things that will distract you like your phone and the remote control 20 seconds away. You will feel too lazy to walk all the way just to check your notifications for example. It’s a great trick to make you more productive.
15. Tech-free day
Have one day each week (most people choose Sunday) where you don’t use technology at all. Make it a day to relax, spend time with others, and do a hobby that you love. I like this because it ‘resets’ you for the coming week. It might be hard to go a whole day without technology at first but you’ll get used to it.
16. Be intentional
This is the most important point for me. Use technology as a tool, not as a time-waster. Only use your phone and technology for things that will make your life better. Binging through entire Netflix series and endlessly scrolling through Instagram is not going to make your life better.
Be organized. Your home screen should not look cluttered. Only have the apps and software that you use on a regular basis and that are important. If they aren’t, having them right there in front of you every time you log in will distract you.
Being organized doesn’t just apply to your home screen, it applies to your documents, emails, projects, and everything else you have on your gadgets.
17. Declutter regularly
Decluttering your online space is a big part of digital minimalism. Every month or at the end of the week, make sure your files are organized (my download folder often gets filled quickly), delete anything you don’t want, and keep everything decluttered. If you don’t do this, you will quickly end up where you were originally. So do yourself a favor and keep on top of things.
19. Enable AdBlocler
If you use Chrome, there’s an extension called AdBlocker that blocks ads for you. This is great because when you are trying to do a job, you are not distracted by all the ads on every single website you visit. I highly recommend this one.
20. Close old accounts
We all open accounts and then never use them again. I know I’ve done it several times. So go through and close accounts that you know will never use again. If you save your passwords on google, you could go on password manager and see what accounts you have. Then you can go through to each website and delete your account. This is helpful if you can’t even remember what accounts you have open.
21. Pick 1 or 2 social media platforms
Rather than having the whole package of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and all the others which can split your focus, pick one and delete the rest. Choose which you prefer and which adds the most value. If you do need to check your other social media one day, then you can go on them from your desktop.
22. Screen time limit
You can use the screen time limit feature on your iPhone. Some choose 30 min, 1 hour, or 2 hours. It will depend on how you use your phone. I try to do most of the things on the laptop and limit my time on my phone because a phone tends to be more addictive.
23. Get a brick phone
When I did a phone detox, I actually got a flip phone just to see what it would be like. After the first week, I did not even miss my phone. I didn’t even think about it.
Right now, I use my flip phone when I’m out and use my smartphone if I need it at home. I can only use it with WiFi as I don’t have a sim in it. This might change, but right now I don’t have a need to take a smartphone with me when I go out. I just need a simple phone for emergencies.
24. Write down all your passwords
From what I’ve seen, no one can remember all their passwords because we have too many. This causes you to click ‘forgot password’ every time you want to login somewhere. To save yourself from doing this every time, write down your passwords somewhere. Either on a document on your computer or on a piece of paper.
25. Go outside
Finally, use this time and go outside into nature. Enjoy the outdoors. Going into nature is so good for your health, your mind and recovering from modern life. Don’t be stuck indoors 24/7. Go to meet others, join a club, or take a stroll in a park.
Try a digital detox
Have you ever tried going a week or month without your phone or without any technology at all? I did a digital detox this summer with my phone. I put it in a box for 30 days and didn’t touch it. After the 30 days were up, I nearly forgot the challenge. I felt like I didn’t need a phone anymore. I couldn’t even type very fast when I opened it up because I hadn’t typed on a phone for a month.
Doing a digital detox is a good way to make you realize that you don’t need to be in front of a screen to relax or be entertained. There are other offline options. Find a new hobby to fill in the time you used to spend on your phone. You could learn so many new skills.
Benefits of digital minimalism
Digital minimalism is something that is especially hard but important for creators and creatives to do as it seems like they need to be constantly in front of a screen. Either designing, producing, responding to comments on social media, or fixing their website.
But did you know you become more creative when you spend less time online? So if you are having a creative block, becoming a digital minimalist will help.
Better for your health
It’s not good for your physical health and it keeps you seated all day long. You can also strain your eyes by looking at a screen for long hours.
When it comes to mental health, technology can affect it in many ways. One is constantly comparing ourselves with others on social media. This is causing depression, especially in teenagers.
Being in front of a screen, especially at night can also majorly affect your sleeping patterns. It can make it hard for you to fall asleep and stay asleep. That’s why it’s best to keep away from technology at night.
Believe it or not, being offline makes you feel more at peace with yourself because you finally have some space to think and reflect. You also stop worrying all the time and just enjoy where you are.
How many times have you gone somewhere and instead of enjoying the scenery or the surroundings, you are looking for the perfect spot for an Instagram photo? Too many people do this and I’m happy I’m not one of them. Taking a couple of pictures for memories it’s fine but there’s a limit like there is with everything.
Improve social skills
If you start going out without a phone or with a muted phone, you will be more focused on the person in front of you. Often, when someone runs out of things to say, they check their phones. We use our phones as an escape from awkwardness.
Without it, it will force you to become a better conversationalist and consequently will improve your currents relationships and maybe form new ones.
Digital minimalism can only be beneficial. You won’t regret it and you won’t miss out on anything. Focus on you and your life.
Slowly, slowly, by following these tips you can become a digital minimalist. I highly recommend it. While technology has many upsides, it also has numerous downsides. As I said before, use them as tools to learn new skills and become a better person. Stop wasting all your precious time looking at pictures of people you don’t know or like.
Embrace digital minimalism. Be more intentional when using your phone.
All images from Unsplash