Digital minimalism: what is it and how to practice it?

Digital minimalism is a trend that promotes a healthier and less dependent use of new technologies. Read on and learn how to practice it.

Last update: 31 January, 2022

Digital minimalism is a global movement, not very sensational, but increasingly widespread. through the same responsible and sustainable use of technologies is encouraged, reducing or avoiding dependency.

In general, technology has brought us great opportunities as well as convenience. We buy more things, faster, without having to go to several places; we get better prices for goods and services; we work without leaving home; we have a wide range of entertainment.

But it seems, it has been too much comfort. We have not learned to manage our own creations, in such a way that they end up managing us. Partly because we have allowed it. Little by little we become addicted automatons, unable to appreciate the world around us and the people who love us.

Do you remember when was the last time you talked to someone without looking at the screen of your phone every time? If you can’t respond, it may be time to disconnect from all devices. Read on and find out what digital minimalism means.

Why does digital minimalism arise?

According to portal estimates Internet World StatsAs of March 2021, the global total of connected people was 5.168 million. Almost two thirds of the planet. Additionally, it is estimated that 75% of those over 5 years of age have cell phones.

Although precise figures are not available in all cases, the above statistics are coupled with others, among which the following should be highlighted:

  • About 5 hours is the average amount of time spent per day interacting with devices.
  • Most acknowledge that checking the phone is the first thing in the morning and the last thing at night.
  • Nearly 10% cannot spend more than an hour without looking at their cell phone.
  • According to an article published in 2019, more than 8 million Spaniards confess to being addicted to mobile phones.

We might wonder if technology is taking over our lives. But before answering this, it is better to start by reviewing ourselves.

What is digital minimalism?

Digital minimalism emerges as a movement not against electronic devices, but to achieve a healthy use of them. in pursuit of digital well-being and to prevent new technologies from affecting our health.

The same thing happens with this trend as with the minimalist lifestyle in other areas (clothing, decoration), which raises the need to get rid of everything that we do not need to concentrate on what is important or essential.

Digital minimalism applies such principles to the field of technology. In this way, it invites us to reflect on what place we give to technologies, how much time we dedicate to them and whether we use them rationally and responsibly.

Digital minimalism is a philosophy of life, in which we make healthy use of technologies, reducing the time of interaction with electronic devices. The goal is not only to reduce the hours we spend in front of a screen, but also to dedicate quality time to our personal, family and social lives.

More than eliminating technology, the movement proposes an improvement in the quality of life through rational use.

How can we start practicing digital minimalism?

Before we talk about any specific strategies or actions to start practicing digital minimalism, we need to refocus. In other words, if we don’t assume that this is something that starts from our vision and from the relationship we have with technologies, any strategy will be sterile.

the three filters

The parable of the three filters, attributed to Socrates, calls us to reflect on the information that reaches us. If they are not real, if they are not good or harm someone, or if they do not report a benefit or utility, we can discard them.

In this sense, we have to admit a few things regarding the information that is disseminated through networks:

  • We don’t need to know that a certain celebrity took her puppy to the salon and how much the haircut cost.
  • Interfering in the rupture of the relationship between two people is not good.
  • Much content that reaches us through the networks, and we even retransmit, is uncertain.

Most of the information we receive daily on our electronic devices would not pass through the three filters of Socrates.

Fear of missing out

Many people have reached the extreme of checking the phone every so often. for fear of missing something important. This practice or trend is what is described as FOMO: fear of missing out.

You have to cast away such fears and, consequently, resist the temptation to check the mobile every time. No important news is generated every second.

Use technology, but don’t let it use you

No, you don’t have to get rid of your mobile. While you wait in the dentist’s room you can read a book that you have downloaded. But if while reading it you are aware of all the notifications that arrive, then technology has taken over you.

There is life beyond the networks

If you don’t post all the photos from your last meeting or social event, does that mean you didn’t enjoy yourself? Many people do not have social media accounts and continue to live. It’s possible.

What matters is what you feel in the moment, here and now. Experience is what counts, as advocated in the philosophy of mindfulness.

We live many years without technology

Do you remember what it was like before? We used to go to the university, to school, without checking the cell phone every so often, without posting stories. In fact, we didn’t have smartphones. And we survive.

value your reality

The best moments with people and places are face to face, before things and at the very moment of happening. Think and ask yourself if it is more pleasant to be on that beach or simply see the photo.

Tips for applying digital minimalism

Now yes, let’s see some more particular strategies to apply digital minimalism and overcome technological dependency.

1. Unsubscribe

The first thing is this: unsubscribe from social networks. Ask yourself if you really know all those people you have among your contacts. Do you need his approval for what you do in your life?

Let’s not wear ourselves out in a sterile competition about who has more followers or receives more likes. Put the ego aside and don’t let it control you.

2. Users and followers

While you can keep some of your social media accounts, the next thing you need to do is review how necessary it is to interact with all those people who are among your contacts. In this sense, consider unfollowing accounts or groups that do not contribute to you.

3. Uninstall apps

Uninstall apps you don’t needneither for your life nor for your work. Review, analyze and decide. Even the phone can tell you: you have several months without using this application.

4. Remove subscriptions

newsletters, newsletter and the like that arrive in the mail and that we almost never read take up space in our inbox and time in our lives. But we do have an option, which comes at the end of every newsletter: stop receiving this publication.

5. Have a schedule

It may sound extreme, but take note of when you connect, when you need to, how much time you spend. Consider putting a schedule on your phone.

6. Only attend to the urgent

When something really urgent, call. And if someone really needs you, they will call you back.

So reduce or limit conversations through various types of messaging. Recognize that many of these are unnecessary communications.

7. Prefer face to face

If you really want to talk to that person, invite her to a coffee or to eat. Is it your partner and is he far away? Schedule a video call and then talk in comfort.

Meet your friends without a phone in between. So you can interact in the present and connected 100% with the other.

8. Applies to all devices

Measures related to digital minimalism apply equally to all devices, from computers to tablets and phones:

  • On the computer, remove programs that you don’t use, useless files and clean the desktop of so many icons.
  • On the phone uninstall apps and disable notifications.

9. Find a distraction in the real world

Do you like music or painting? Okay, think about how much time you waste on your phone you could reinvest learning to play the guitar or playing sports. Of course, when you go for a walk or on the bike, leave the phone at home.

Benefits of practicing digital minimalism

The advantages that new technologies bring us are great. But we are seeing that they also bring many negative consequences: tiredness, eye fatigue, insomnia, stress. Even social media affects our emotions. Because of this, some people have to resort to the doctor, therapy and support programs to overcome addictions.

Since it is a relatively new trend, there is not much research yet on the impact of digital minimalism. However, the benefits of reducing the relationship or dependence on new technologies are known:

  • Reduce sedentary lifestyle.
  • Increase outdoor activities.
  • Minimizes eye strain on a screen.
  • Reduces stress and anxiety.
  • There is an increase in attention to tasks.

Finally, if you have children and you don’t want them to spend so much time with electronic devices, give you the example. In this sense, the best thing you can do is promote digital minimalism as a way of life in your home.

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