Technology is constantly evolving and making us increasingly connected in our work and home lives. It’s supposed to make our lives easier, but it can add stress and chaos that we just don’t need. Perhaps it’s a good time to consider minimalist technology.
Minimalist technology is using the “less is more” principle to our digital products to that which we actually need. Minimalism in a digital world can decrease distraction, save time, and increase organization and productivity.
Do you find it difficult to keep up with technology as it is ever evolving? Do you have too much technology in your work and home life and want to minimize your digital clutter?
What Is Minimalist Technology?
You’re probably well aware of minimalism, which is the “less is more” movement. When we speak of minimalist technology, is doing more with less. This means we have simpler technology, simpler electronics, and simpler design features but with all of the ability to do what we need. The technology is better designed and undiluted by extra features and cables and whatnot that do not contribute to functionality.
How to Apply the Minimalism Lifestyle to Technology
The minimalism lifestyle is defined by simple living, fewer possessions, and living intentionally. Minimalists prioritize quality over quantity-so it makes sense that you could apply the minimalism lifestyle to technology. In a digitally chaotic world, who wouldn’t want to practice minimalism in technology?
You can start applying a minimalist lifestyle to technology by evaluating all your electronic devices. Decide if you really need them all first, and then minimize the files on each to just the necessities. Unsubscribe or unfollow people or businesses that are no longer relevant or needed. Also, use technology intentionally. Make sure that what you’re doing digitally serves a purpose rather than mindlessly scrolling through social media profiles.
Here are some tips to help you apply minimalism to your technology:
- Decide what you need from technology.
- Make a list of the support and vital functions you need from technology (email, productivity, scheduling, etc.).
- Figure out what is a distraction, what contributes to your screen time, and what doesn’t contribute to your work and daily organization.
- Focus on the things that help you be more efficient and save you time.
- Keep in mind that constant connectivity is not necessarily a good thing.
Minimalist technology doesn’t have to be a daunting task, so here is a checklist to make sure you do this well:
- Start small and work your way up.
- Make it a routine: declutter your digital life.
- Backup important files.
- Get organized.
- Disconnect regularly and spend time in nature.
- Minimize distractions and put time limits on your technology use.
It won’t all happen at once. Take your time and really put consideration into what you are doing and why. There should be great meaning behind converting to minimalist technology-it’ll add more purpose to your actual life.
How to Become a Technology Minimalist
If you want to become a technology minimalist, remember: technology is NOT always your friend. And more technology is definitely NOT your friend. Minimalists practice the “less is more” ideology, even with things like technology. So becoming a technology minimalist means paring down the technology you own, and making what you use more purposeful and efficient. So get rid of the techy stuff you don’t need and tech with more intention!
Minimalist Technology and Digital Minimalism
Minimalist technology and digital minimalism go hand-in-hand, so it only makes sense to work on them simultaneously. There are multiple resources out there to help us minimize our digital imprint as well as our technology, from books and podcasts to lifestyle gurus and documentaries. Cal Newport is just one of those resources to help get you started with the switch to digital minimalism.
Cal Newport (American Author & Assoc. Prof. of computer science; writes about digital minimalism) is the author of “Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World” and well-known digital minimalist. Newport encourages his readers to apply the minimalist lifestyle to focus on those digital things that bring value to life.
His suggestions include using thoughtful methods for which tools, for which purposes, and for what conditions. He also encourages the reader to reconnect to self with solitude periods, starting with digital decluttering and rethinking social media.
The video below helps explain how you can still be a tech enthusiast, but a tech minimalist.
How Do You Become a Digital Minimalist?
In order to become a digital minimalist, it helps to create a plan. Make a list of all of the things you need and don’t need in your digital world to start. Consider smartphone apps, email accounts, files, shortcuts, icons, and how connected you are.
Do away with the things you don’t need and consider compiling some of the things you need to be more efficient and take up less space (physically and digitally). Apply this to your smartphone, laptop, game consoles, televisions, etc. Also consider-how many game consoles/televisions/devices do you actually need? Decrease the technological clutter to minimize your digital life!
How Can I Live a Life With Less Technology?
It is very possible to live a life with less technology-think back 10-20 years ago. You didn’t have a “smart” watch that connected to your “smart” phone that connected to your laptop and vehicle’s “smart” display. You don’t need all of these things-they’re just nice to have (for some). Your vehicle should get you from point A to point B (and hopefully get good gas mileage!).
Your phone should keep you in touch with loved ones, friends, and coworkers through voice, text, and email. Your watch should tell you what time it is and maybe tell you how many steps you’ve taken today. Focus on the technology you need and do away with that you don’t.
Why Is Digital Minimalism Good?
Digital minimalism is good because it saves space, time, and functionality. It helps you pare down to the things you need, the things you use every day, while not adding to your stress levels. If anything digital minimalism should decrease your stress levels and save you time! The digital world is chaotic enough-so why not practice digital minimalism? Besides, you can personalize your own digital minimalism plan that works for you and helps you in the long run.
Technology That Enhances Real Peoples Lives and Makes Them Feel Happier/Safer
I asked some friends and family members to list at least one example of a way that technology enhances their lives. Here is what they shared and what I learned from the poll:
|How Technology Enhances Life
|Tally of Family/Friends
|Smart watch tracks my activity
|Smart watch is always on
|I can locate family members on my phone
|Smartphone locations can be hidden
|Access to (home, work, school) email everywhere
|Difficult to separate home and work/school with email
|I have apps for everything
|There are too many separate apps
|My phone keeps track of important dates and appointments
|I lost contacts when I deleted an email account
|My smartphone-laptop-smart watch-vehicle display are all connected
|I get bombarded by notifications across all my devices
- Digital Minimalism – Guide to Simplicity in Our WiFi World
- Unplug From Social Media – Disconnect for a Simpler Life
We live in such a chaotic world with “smart” devices everywhere, notifications, digital monitoring, endless entertainment, and social media in everything we do. It only makes sense to want to minimize our digital imprint and pursue minimalist technology. Our use of technology should make our lives easier, but it in no way can make it more intentional. We must make the choice to minimize what we use and how we use it, and set the example for generations to come. Our mental health deserves that!