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Digital minimalism: less is also more

Technology brings us comfort. We learn, buy and work faster. But better? We have become digital addicts, unable to enjoy the outside world except through a device connected to the network. The time has come to incorporate minimalism into our lives.

Do you remember what your life was like before your first mobile phone?

And when was the last time that the person you were talking to concentrated on the conversation, without looking away at a screen?

Yes, there was a time when people talked about wars, read about politics, ignorance was cured with books and it was "word of mouth" that aroused our curiosity about a new film.

We believe that everything is still the same. But it isn’t. Digital devices have come along to meet our needs quickly and immediately and this means that our habits have changed and our demands have changed. We need things now, right now, without wasting any time.

Perhaps the time has come to go back. To go back to less is more. To digital minimalism. There is no reason to turn your back on technological advances, just make use of them in a more sensible way.

We can take advantage of digital minimalism, without neglecting our relationship with everything else.

What is digital minimalism?

Digital minimalism is a philosophy in which the use of technology is limited, where your time online is focused on a small number of the best, carefully selected activities, which underpin the things you value, and then let you happily disengage from everything else.

It does not mean being against the use of technology; instead it advocates a more responsible, conscious use of technological tools. It is about prioritising your time with the family, at work and with friends, rather than being distracted by notifications from mobile phones or social media or searching for information on the Internet.

"Digital minimalism is a philosophy in which the use of technology is limited, where your time online is focused on a small number of activities."

The silent movement

There is a "silent movement" of people who relate to technology in a different way. They can have long conversations, read or go for a walk without needing to constantly look at their mobile. They are informed about what is happening around them, but they do not suffer from the so-called Fomo syndrome, the fear of missing out on something when they are not connected to the Internet.

Strategies for being a digital minimalist

Digital minimalism is being committed to the rational use of digital devices. Not all of us are addicted to social media, but a significant number of people recognise that they cannot spend even one day without using their phone.

According to several studies, our dependence on smartphones is increasing:

  • More than 8.1 million Spaniards confess that they are addicted to mobile phones.
  • The average time we spend looking at our devices is more than 4 hours and 22 minutes a day.
  •  61% of Spaniards recognize that the first and last thing they do each day is look at their phone.
  •   11% of the population says that they cannot be without their mobile for more than an hour.

What can we do to stop this trend? Experts in digital minimalism propose several strategies.

Delete the apps that you don't need

Learn to distinguish between necessary technology and optional technology.

There are applications that are essential for work (email, for example) but there are others whose sole purpose is to let us have a good time. They distract us, interrupt us and make us waste valuable time that could be spent with our family and friends. What to do with them? It is best to remove them completely.

Manage your time and decide when you should use your mobile

Set a schedule for accessing certain applications. For example, if you have several social media accounts, dedicate a certain number of hours a week to dealing with them. It is also essential that you decide where and when you can do it. Meeting friends will always be more important than chatting online.

Turn off notifications

In this way, you will avoid the temptation to pick up the phone every time an alert sounds. If for work reasons you cannot 

 

Don't use any digital device before going to bed

If you want to sleep better, don't check your smartphone or tablet before going to bed. Some experts say you should avoid this habit for three hours before sleeping.

 

Clean up your files

Do you really need all the emails you receive? What about the photos you have saved on your device? If they are of no use, delete all files that are taking up space unnecessarily on your computers. Optimise the performance of your electronic devices and you will get rid of a lot of digital rubbish.

"Delete all files that are taking up space unnecessarily on your computers."

Cancel subscriptions

Most of the time we subscribe to web pages to get information that we don't really need. In addition to taking up space, these messages make us waste precious time that we can use for other tasks, such as a family outing.

 

Look for hobbies in the real world

Or go back to the ones that you gave up due to not having time. When you go out to practise sports or any other activity that requires going outside, leave your mobile at home. You will soon end the habit of checking your phone every so often.

Preach by example

If you have children and you do not want them to become digital addicts, be discreet in front of them about how you use your devices. Family activities should not be interrupted by the sound of a notification, an email or a conversation on social media. The use of smartphones must have a reason and not serve only as a simple distraction.

Remember that the abusive use of mobile phones ends up untraining the brain and making it lazier.

¿Do you really need so many social media accounts?

Today it seems that you do not exist if you do not have accounts on several social media. Think about how useful each of them is and how you use it. After the analysis, you will see that, in most cases, all you are doing is wasting time looking at information that does not give you anything.

What can we do?

  • The first thing is to unsubscribe from the social media that do not contribute anything on a professional or personal level.
  • Stop following certain users and/or groups if all they do is post irrelevant information.
  • Limit your viewing time. Set a time and place for accessing your accounts.
  • Replace digital conversations with conversations in the real world.

Remember that minimalism is a way of life that means that human beings can obtain satisfaction from following the maxim of less is more.

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