Three Types of Digital Minimalism in 2022

Photo by Julieann Ragojo on Unsplash

Introduction

Over the past 2 years, I’ve been digitally de-cluttering and changing my lifestyle to match my goals for productivity, attention, and screen-time. I have come to recognize that many people are seeking a simpler lifestyle while others just want a way to control their impulses and retain the conveniences that the smartphone era has brought to us.

Therefore, I’ve come up with a 5 step “program” and 3 types of Digital Minimalism that can help you orient your goals this year.

Photo by Brendan Church on Unsplash

Step 1: Select your type

The first step is to determine your type of Digital Minimalism. No type is better than the other, they just reflect your goals for the next year (or decade!). Be mindful of your responsibilities when choosing your type as some professions allow for total lifestyle change while others do not.

  1. Lifestyle Change: This person wants to completely overhaul their usage of digital devices. Their tolerance level for change is high and trying workarounds is not an issue. Individuals seeking lifestyle change understand that their personal goals come first even if it means changing jobs, losing constant contact with friends, or being an inconvenience to the restaurant that only has QR codes as menus.
  2. Half and Half: This individual seeks to balance their usage of digital devices. They understand that some compromises have to be made in order to attain less hours in front of screens. Maybe it's a content blocker, a timer, or their friends/family putting a pass code on their phone to block apps, etc. Half and half types may also try a hybrid approach where they have some access to digital devices during some days and no access on others. They are seeking some change, but not a total overhaul. They want to still participate in some societal digital conveniences but desire more time for their personal goals.
  3. Power Users: Individuals who desire some change, but for the most part are content with their use of digital devices. They need most of the conveniences of the digital world because of their jobs in social media, tech, or any field that requires constant access to mid to high end technology. They also want the conveniences that the digital era has brought and do not mind it. They are just looking for little adjustments here and there.
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Step 2: List all of your digital needs

I define “needs” as something that I must access daily or every couple of hours. These are the apps/services that help you earn a living, connect with family, or simply provide a level of convenience that you are not willing to part with at this time (or ever).

The needs category does not include entertainment services, games, or social media (unless you work in social media which is a completely different conversation).

My personal list:

  1. Phone calls
  2. Groups SMS
  3. WhatsApp (for work)
  4. Podcasts and Music
  5. Navigation
  6. Email (for work and personal)
  7. 2 Factor Authentication

Step 3: Match your needs to their respective devices

This step invites you to think about how you are going to use your necessary apps/services with the selection of devices that you currently have. Whether you are using multiple devices or one device, it is important to list what device will do what and how you are going to interact with it. A helpful stipulation would be to list how many hours you want to use these devices and for what purposes.

If you need a content blocker or a program blocker, I recommend Cold Turkey as I’ve been using it to stay productive during my desktop hours. A to-do list with a guide for your day may be a helpful item to purchase. I use the Notsu to-do list cards and carry them with me to orient my day.

Here is my personal example:

  1. Light Phone 2 for calls, sms, and podcasts
  2. Desktop will handle email and Whataspp
  3. Music will be accessed via a Sandisk Clip MP3 player
  4. 2FA handled via Yubikey (a physical 2FA system)

Step 4: Find replacement activities for your free time

Digital Minimalism is a helpful philosophy to reduce our time from being tethered to the screens. However, you will quickly realize that the analog world can be less stimulating than the digital one as it is not framed under the rules of casinos. Therefore, it is important to fill the gaps of time with new hobbies or other activities that can bring satisfaction to your life.

Photo by Customerbox on Unsplash

Maybe a coloring class, woodworking, a book club, walks in the park, exercise, reading your sacred text, meditation, or whatever you are into. I believe this step to be crucial as it is important to replace our digital time with new analog activities.

Step 5: Analyze and change

Find what works best for you. Every person is different and not everyone has the same experience. Digital minimalism is a great way to recover time and find new passion projects, but reworking your goals, finding new methods, and exploring different possibilities has to be part of any successful system. Therefore, sit down every 2 weeks or every month and analyze what has been working and has not.

I hope this helps you and if you have any questions, please let me know.

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Digital Minimalist. Dumbphone Enthusiast.

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Jose Briones

Jose Briones

Digital Minimalist. Dumbphone Enthusiast.

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