Digital Minimalism

by Ari Takata-Vasquez

The newest frontier in my minimalist journey is in the digital world. Just I’m just coming to terms with jotting notes in my phone rather than on a piece of paper, there seems to be a flurry of new digital distractions. You know what I’m talking about, the compulsive Facebook checking, snapchat, instagram, whatsapps, and the list goes on and on. I’ve found there are a couple of components of being a digital minimalist; the first being the physical/psuedo-physical/visual and the second is single-tasking.
The first physical component of being a digital minimalist is the simplification of our physical technology. I’m talking the imac, iphone, iPod, fitbit, ect. While it’s exciting to have the latest and greatest, trying to keep up with the newest trend will leave you broke, with old electronics only slated to go to landfills. I’m a sucker for new technology, but I try to resist the urge to get the newest wearable object. There are 4 items in my tech arsenal: Macbook Pro, iPhone, Ringly, and my favorite headphones— Audio Technical M-50s. Each thing has it’s place and it all is hyper mobile so I can work just about anywhere.
I recently got a mable-esque rubberized case for my macbook and I love the way it looks and it goes right into my purse so I don’t have a clunky laptop sleeve taking up any extra space. It also matches my cell phone (available in-store) case and makes my desk look clean and put-together. When your tech gadgets are starting to feel old, add some new life with a simple new case. It’s much much much cheaper and it’ll breathe new life into your things.
Another piece of being a digital minimalist is keeping your screens clear of distractions. I try to keep my desktop empty with all my most used applications in the dock. For my phone I keep everything in folders. I know this isn’t for everyone, but it really helps me to compartmentalize my focus. I have a notification in the social media folder? It can wait until I have some spare time rather than pulling my focus away. I’ve also deleted the Facebook app because I realized just how much time I’ve wasted scrolling through, getting FOMO and reading unnecessary articles. It was getting to the point where when I’d first wake-up, I’d be on my phone for 30 minutes to an hour rather than getting ready. Getting rid of that one app has made my mornings so much easier, plus I don’t get distracted throughout the day with notifications.
With app notifications, status updates and text messages it can make it so easy to get distracted from the task at hand. I’ve found it can be really difficult to single-task, but it makes my work so much more focused and better quality than if I let me self get side tracked with a group text or stop to check in on instagram. My Ringly ring has been really helpful for this exact reason. It’s bluetooth enabled and connects to my phone to give me discrete notifications. It’s a much better option than my compulsive phone checking. There is definitely still space for checking social apps, but it feels more like a choice than a compulsion.
While I’m working I try to also use my applications on full-screen mode so I don’t get distracted by my messenger app or googling something that pops into my head. To help with those fleeting thoughts, I also keep my notebook next to me while I work. Having the notebook to jot down different ideas, thoughts or things I want to look up later helps me to stay focused on the task at hand.
I'm still working on not having a million tabs open on my browser and exercising minimalism in a noisy digital world, but hopefully some of these tips can help you along in your minimalist journey.