I recently “read” the audio version of Cal Newport’s book “Digital Minimalism” which is about living a focused and intentional life in an increasingly noisy world. As a millennial I grew up with a lot of technology. My dad worked for IBM, we owned the first home computer and my mom was an early adapter to the first ever massive cell phone which weighed nearly three pounds. I also grew up barefoot climbing trees, swimming for hours and playing soccer until my face turned tomato red and am thankful my little eyes were not glued to an iPhone, iPad or even TV screen.
I’ve had a smart phone since they came on the market have noticed a negative difference in my well being since I got it and especially since I opened a Facebook account and later Instagram. My attention span got shorter, I experienced regular cases of comparison and FOMO and have found myself habitually reaching for my iPhone without thinking about it. It makes me cringe to think about the number of hours of my life I have wasted on social media watching other people live their lives. There are many things I love and appreciate about social media, but I also know it can have a negative impact on me.
I am now determined to be in control over my technology use rather than letting it control me. I am currently well into a significant and hopefully long-lasting digital detox and I want to share my boundaries with you in case they inspire you to make your own:
- Limit Hours of Usage Morning and Night
For me I don’t let myself check email, calls or text until I’ve had my morning quiet time.
- Leave My Phone at Home for Hours
Lately, I have been leaving my phone at the house every time we visit the beach which is several times a week.
- Refrain from checking email after 6pm
Since I have email on my phone, this gives me a break from work and helps me rest.
- Monitor my screen time and pick ups
I have a love-hate relationship with the screen time feature on my phone. It challenges me and shames me! I hope this feature equips all of us to be more aware of how often we are using our phones.
I’m definitely not a digital minimalism expert or a true minimalist, but I am soaking in the benefits of having less screen time. I have been off social media for a few months now with the exception of selling things on Facebook or doing work related posts. Honestly, I like myself better. I like being a little mysterious and I like not knowing everyone’s whereabouts and happenings. While I don’t know if I’ll be off it forever this experience has definitely opened my eyes. I hope these thoughts help encourage you to find greater balance with technology.