Do you ever struggle to find where you left that important file on your laptop? Or have you ever wished you could get a little more life out of your tired, old phone? If so, digital minimalism may be the answer for you!
Digital Minimalism is a philosophy that encourages a strict boundary of what is and isn’t allowed to take up space on your phone, computer, tablet, watch, smart shoelaces, or whatever else you use that has a screen and too much junk taking up space.
The idea is to treat your virtual spaces the same way a traditional minimalist treats their physical spaces. First, remove everything that doesn’t bring you some explicit form of value. Then, when you’re down to just the essentials, give each a good home.
Like traditional minimalism, this practice is excellent for mental health and creates a sense of peace and calm. It also has some very direct, practical benefits to your day, but we’ll get into all that shortly!
Getting Started with Digital Minimalism
Digital minimalism starts with deleting old applications, shortcuts, files, bookmarks, and photos that no longer serve you.
The starting point is a “spring cleaning” for your devices.
Of what remains, sort everything out. Put everything in a place that makes sense to you, create folders, and give things clear, easy-to-recognize names. Act like you want to be able to find everything easily because you do!
And remember, just like with traditional minimalism, essentialism, and others, the end goal isn’t to pare down to nothing. The end goal is to pare down to nothing pointless. Everything should have a purpose.
If you live a significant portion of your life in the digital world, you deserve peace and comfort in that world. Below are the top reasons you should give digital minimalism a shot!
1. Performance and Battery Life
Many people believe that their computers and phones slow down because of viruses, malware, and sneaky hackers. But most of the time nowadays, the only person slowing down your PC is you.
Electronic devices naturally degrade and decline in performance over their lifetimes, primarily due to the impact of heat on the components. This slow breakdown is pretty much unavoidable. The good news is, that how hard you push your devices has a significant impact on how quickly they degrade.
Running a million different apps in the background or keeping a browser window open with every tab you’ve ever used puts strain on the system. The physical components of the machine need to work harder to keep up with that demand. The stress of high demand makes it harder for your device to keep up in the short term and causes it to age faster over time.
Plus, a system doing heavy work uses more power, so your battery goes, too.
You can lighten the load you’re putting on your devices and free them to perform better for longer. All it takes is to tidy up a bit and run a tighter ship.
Keep less of the stuff you don’t need. Run fewer things you aren’t using. Close things out when you no longer need them. You probably shut off the lights when you leave a room; this is no different.
If you pare down to only what you are currently using and enjoying, your devices will run smoother, respond faster, and last longer.
2. Digital Minimalism is Another Way of Letting Go
One of the essential viewpoints of this blog is that getting rid of needless waste is a powerful tool for getting more done, reaching new heights, and feeling great along the way.
And here we are again.
You know you can run out of room in your home or office for more knick-knacks, seasonal decorations, and general noise. You can do the same thing by cluttering up your phone or laptop with extra junk. Eventually, there is no useable space left, and you have to take something out for everything that comes in.
Have you ever been that guy with, like, one byte of free storage on your phone? Where you literally can’t download an app or take a photo without deleting ten things first? It is not a very cowabunga way to live.
Let yourself out of the trap of never having enough space for anything. Instead, free yourself from old baggage by cleaning out unused apps, photos, shortcuts, and files.
Being a minimalist with your digital world helps you work more efficiently, reduce distractions, and relax more peacefully.
3. When You Love Your Things, They Love You Back
One central theme of traditional minimalism is respect for your possessions. There is an active debate over whether or not we should all be literally speaking to our household items, thanking our socks for their service each day and whatnot.
But even so, it is pretty well agreed upon that if you take good care of your things, you will be better off in the long run.
Showing respect for your possessions offers two main benefits. First, maintaining things and handling them with care builds up the neurological association that this item is essential to you. It’s like how doing favors for other people counterintuitively makes you feel more ingratiated to them.
Second, and more practically, taking good care of things causes them to last longer. They can provide more value over a longer time. Who knew?!
Okay, for real. Just as you read above, computers and small devices, particularly phones, feel the weight of over-exertion. That strain adds up over time and degrades the inner workings.
It’s no secret that modern cell phones are intentionally engineered to age quickly. And as they age, they slow down, fall apart, tell offensive jokes, and oppose raising the minimum wage. It’s not a pretty picture. So there’s no reason for you to help it along faster.
Respect your things, electronic or otherwise. Handle them with care, and they will bring you happiness for a long time.
Digital Minimalism, Real-World Peace
Digital minimalism is a means to create more peace, enjoyment, and productivity in your digital life. In an age where we live so much of our lives in the digital world, it deserves every bit as much attention as other areas of life.
If you’re ready to take the next step and start decluttering your digital world, we’ve created a free resource to help you get started. Click below to check out the 8-Week Digital Decluttering Challenge!