The Purpose of the book: The purpose of Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport is to help you live a FOCUSED LIFE in a world where people have lost control over themselves and have become a puppet of their mobile.
The Purpose of this blog: After digital minimalism book summary, you will get to know ‘why you are addicted to social media‘ and how you can become a digital minimalist.
We are glued to our smartphones, laptops, and tablets slavishly checking the latest Instagram updates, refreshing mail, scanning Twitter, or scrolling TikTok for hours. Our full attention and focus are dedicated to these devices as if we don’t have anything else to work on. In fact, even when you decide to quit on social media, you cannot as if YOU DON’T HAVE ANY CONTROL OVER YOURSELF.
I was wondering, WHY IS IT SO TOUGH FOR US TO QUIT ON THESE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS?
Why Digital Minimalism Is Important?
And I found the answer in Cal Newport’s book, ‘Digital Minimalism’ where he says, ’tech companies continue to invest major resources into making their products and services addictive so that you’ll continue scrolling and tapping’
YOUR TIME = THEIR MONEY
You, I, and all of us are so addicted to our devices because they were designed after a careful analysis of basic human nature so that they can use your own nature against you. All these devices and social media platforms are designed with just one purpose – TO ROB YOUR ATTENTION, MAKE YOU POWERLESS & DUMB. Every advertisement, every video, and every post is placed in the right place so that you keep clicking and digging until you realize ‘YOU HAVE WASTED A LOT OF TIME’ And after countless hours like this, you curse yourself and watch YouTube videos on ‘how to be productive’ or ‘how to get rid of mobile addiction’
It’s Newport’s contention that checking “likes” is the new smoking.
If you can see yourself in my words, don’t worry. You are not alone. We all are trapped in this vicious cycle. I have been there too until I read ‘Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport’
Let’s see how you can get rid of your mobile addiction as per Digital Minimalism
What Is Digital Minimalism?
Cal Newport says in Digital Minimalism that there is no problem in using technology. The problem is when technology uses you. Newport is convinced that we need a full-fledged philosophy of technology use so that we are the masters, not the other way around.
And the philosophy he suggests is, ‘Digital Minimalism Philosophy’
“Digital minimalism is one such philosophy, which requires that you identify what values and activities are priorities in your life, determine which digital tools promote those priorities, and implement constraints for using these tools to maximize their benefits and minimize their harm and distractions”Cal Newport
Digital minimalism isn’t about giving up the digital world altogether. Digital minimalism is rather about using technology mindfully, knowing when to stop, giving up on those social media platforms that are controlling you, and becoming a strong-minded person.
How To Practice Digital Minimalism?
1. Eliminate Clutter: Some platforms are nothing but a mere source of entertainment like TikTok or Instagram. Cal says that technology must be viewed as a cost-benefit analysis which involves asking yourself “whether a technology adds value to your life or not?”
For example; Instagram may be an easy way to stay in touch with friends and family but is it the best way? Instead of posting a birthday story for your friend, wouldn’t it be great if you go to her/his house and wish them in person with a tight hug?
When I did this exercise, I realized that I waste a lot of time on Instagram. I have two accounts, one public where I share book recommendations and reviews with over 60k followers, and one private account to stay in touch with college friends. After reading Digital Minimalism, I realized staying in touch with friends was just an excuse. I was rather curious to know their life updates. I deleted my private account almost 2 months back and BOOM!! I am so much happier, satisfied, and focused in life. Since I don’t get to know the unnecessary details of others’ lives, I don’t feel jealous.
Similarly, you should ask yourself what apps or software don’t add any value to your life. If you think any app or software is taking over you, making you addicted, and adding problems to your life indirectly, it’s time to take a 30-days declutter challenge.
2. 30 Days Declutter Challenge: 30-day declutter challenge means you choose an app/software that you think is disturbing you, and then you promise yourself not to use it for 30 days.
The reason behind this is pretty simple: if you can accomplish this 30-day challenge, you will learn to control your sudden temptations to reach out to your phone.
In these 30 days, you will realize how much of your time was robbed from you, how your attention was robbed from you and how you were manipulated.
This 30-day challenge is to take a break from technology and bring yourself back to life, experience true human connection, feel love, breathe the fresh air, look around you, to do everything that you always wished for.
I am doing this challenge even to this day. After deleting my personal account, I deleted Twitter, and Pinterest for 30 days. And now, I am on a Sunday Social Media Detox where I don’t use any sort of social media app on Sundays no matter how important or urgent it is. This helps me to reconnect with myself and learn new things as well.
How to Make The Best Use of Social Media Detox:
If you take this challenge, you must be very careful. Your brain is addicted to the entertainment and comfort that these social media platforms provide. If you go on this 30-day challenge, your brain will get bored. And this boredom can lead to stressing over small mistakes you made in the past or worrying about the future. This is the reason why people cannot quit social media easily.
To help you make the best out of social media detox, Cal suggests some creative ways so that these 30 days don’t feel like a cage to you and you don’t feel the urge to get back to your phone;
- Leave Your Phone and Go For a Walk: When was the last time you went for a walk and spent some time in nature? Perhaps, longer than you can remember. Cal says it is important for you to learn to leave your phone at home and still find happiness. So, take out 15 minutes every day, dress up a little and go for a walk. You can take a walk to a place that gives you peace like a coffee shop, park, library, temple, church, your friend’s place or anything else. To tell you, I go to the temple every day instead of using my mobile phone and getting anxious.
- Practice Solitude: One of the most difficult things to do is just to sit with yourself, and do nothing. One minute of solitude and people start feeling stressed, lonely, and depressed as if they are left alone on this planet. However, practicing solitude is way more important than you can ever imagine. When you sit with yourself, you get the chance to listen to your thoughts, feel connected with your inner child, and feel peace around you. Besides, if you are not taking out enough time every day to be with yourself, and listen to yourself then you are just listening to the outside world and in the end, you will end up following, doing, and becoming what the outside world says.
You can also write down your thoughts and call it journaling. You can sit down with your eyes closed and call it meditation. The purpose is to reconnect with your lost inner self. The peace of solitude will become more addictive than scrolling TikTok, I promise.
- Learn Something New Every Week: No one has time yet everyone is wasting their time on social media. When I advise people to learn something new, they say, ‘I have a career to work for or a degree to study for’
Perhaps that’s the reason why we have lost our spark and creative side. When you don’t learn new things constantly, you start working on autopilot mode.
Cal says in Digital Minimalism that you have to give your brain something equally interesting so that you don’t even remember using social media. The primary reason why you reach out to your phone after every minute is that your brain is addicted to entertainment. Hence, challenge yourself to learn a new skill every week or every month. I challenged myself to quit social media and learn Calligraphy in the meantime. Although I am not an expert yet I feel empowered knowing that I LEARNED SOMETHING NEW.
In fact, I am now more addicted to skillshare. Whenever I feel bored, I just open my laptop or phone and start learning something new on SkillShare. That’s what technology is about – USING IT LIKE A MASTER FOR YOUR ADVANTAGE.
You can either learn new things every week, or you can start a new habit like reading books. Anything that you think would be more beneficial to you.
- Make Something From Your Hands: As a child, I always loved making something out of unused items, or what I call BEST OUT OF WASTE. Cal says that humans feel more connected to themselves when they do anything with their hands. It could be cooking, drawing, painting, or anything that you always wanted to try.
These activities will not only keep you hooked but will also improve your focus. Hence, a WIN-WIN situation.
Here is a template for you. When you are on digital detox, get this template printed, stick it somewhere you can see always. And then keep a track of your performance by writing down, what did you learn on day 1 to day 14 or what new did you try that made you feel peaceful.
If you can complete this social media detox, you will be more empowered and confident than you ever have in your entire life. As it will make you realize that:
- You can keep your words or promise
- You are stronger than you imagine
- You are not in control of technology
- You built a stronger relationship with yourself and
- You also learned new things in the process
However, if you don’t take this challenge, you will always feel:
- In control of technology
- Dancing on the beats of notifications
- Feeling miserable about your situation
- Stressed and depressed
- Comparison, jealousy, and self-hatred
Should You Read Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport?
Yes, you should definitely read Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport. Because trust me, every app, every mobile, every software, and everything around you is designed to make you weak, powerless, and miserable. That is the reason even after having all the resources easily available, people don’t take action on their ideas. People who are in power want to make you a puppet of their invention so that you buy anything that they ask you to. They don’t want you to have control over your life otherwise they wouldn’t be able to control you. If you want to get out off this vicious cycle, implement what you have just read and order the book.
You can also join my newsletter, Wellness Corner where I post the updates of my Sunday Social Media Detox and lessons from various other books. Here is a link to join.