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. Remove everything that doesn’t bring you some clear form of value. Then, when you’re down to just the essentials, give each a proper home.
Just like with traditional minimalism, this practice is great for mental health and creating 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
So what does it all look like? Well, it starts with deleting old applications, shortcuts, files, bookmarks, and photos you no longer care about.
Basically, 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, make folders, 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 over time because of things like 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, largely due to the impact of heat on the components. This is pretty much unavoidable. The good news is, how hard you push your devices has a big 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 in the long term.
Plus, a system that’s working that hard needs more power, so there goes your battery, too.
You can lighten the load you’re putting on your devices and free them up to perform better for longer. All it takes is to tidy up a bit and run a tigher ship.
Store less of the stuff you don’t need. Run less of the stuff you aren’t using. Close things out when you’re done with 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 cluttering up your phone or laptop with extra junk. Eventually every single corner is full and you have to take something out for each thing 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. Getting rid of unused apps, photos, shortcuts and files frees you up from old baggage that you didn’t need in the first place.
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 crucial theme of traditional minimalism is respect for your possessions. There is something of 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 for doing so.
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 important to you. It’s just like how how doing favors for other people counterintuitively makes you 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?! See, this is the kind of hard-hitting, incisive fact-driving that I know you come here for. When you break your stuff, it becomes broken. Wow, I’m doing such a good job at this today.
Okay, for real. Just as you read above, computers and small devices, phones in particular, 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 to come.
Digital Minimalism, Real-World Peace
Digital minimalism is a means to creating 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!