The past year has been an incredibly challenging time for many of us, and one of the biggest changes has been adapting to relying on technology more than ever before. Many employees still find themselves working from home, which blurs the boundaries of their work and personal time. This has started to take its toll on our mental health, and many individuals have been encouraged to turn to digital minimalism and its teachings to try and enforce stricter boundaries moving forward. Today we’re going to look at how digital minimalism can benefit your life and help you to gain more balance and reclaim your time for other things you love to do.
Adapting to the New Way of Working
For anyone who has recently found themselves working from a laptop at home, this has likely been a huge adjustment. While you’ve probably got yourself well set up by now in your makeshift home office, one of the biggest concerns is sticking to a schedule when it comes to our working hours. Do you often find yourself returning to check your emails one more time after the day is finished? Or maybe you stay up late reading through work messages to get you ready for the day ahead? While work used to only be associated with an office building, it’s no longer fixed in one place, allowing anyone in the world to have access to us at any time of the day.
How Could Digital Minimalism Help Individuals in our Connected World?
While you are no doubt familiar with minimalism as an overarching term, digital minimalism refers to pairing back on your use of technology and reducing your reliance on the internet and devices. Cal Newport introduced the term digital minimalism in his book of the same title, and he encourages readers to use their devices and software with more intention. Instead of scrolling for endless hours on Instagram or playing mindless games online, we can instead put aside set periods of time each day for these activities. Digital minimalism doesn’t mean that you switch off your internet connection so you can never work online again, but instead asks you to think about why you are performing certain tasks online at specific points of the day.
Individuals today need to consider whether they are setting themselves firm enough boundaries, particularly if they find they are still working from home. There’s no denying that technology is extremely addictive, which is why we all find ourselves checking our phones and emails so often. However, after over a year of working from home, it’s about time more of us learned to clock off at 5 or 6 pm and return to work the next morning. If you’ve been finding it hard to put time aside for those activities you love and enjoy the most, applying some of the principles of digital minimalism could make a huge difference to your overall quality of life. While it can certainly feel scary to set boundaries for the first few days, you’ll soon notice the benefits to your mental health and wellbeing.
The Benefits of Digital Minimalism
For individuals around the world today, you’ll find there are many benefits of digital minimalism. The main motivator for this type of minimalism is to improve our overall quality of life. If you find you struggle to maintain any form of work-life balance, technology probably plays a big part in this issue. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with using technology in moderation, and for most of us, it’s essential for our jobs. However, when it starts to take over our lives, and you don’t feel you can go ten minutes without checking your phone, that’s when problems start to occur.
People who work online all day long often find they lack concentration. This can result in their productivity decreasing, and they soon struggle to focus on one thing at a time. If you are using multiple devices at once, think about whether this is really necessary to complete the work at hand. Consider being more deliberate with your use of technology and just focus on one device during your working day. If you have a split-screen, think about whether you are relying on this too much and whether it’s overloading your brain during work. You’ll find that by really thinking about the tools you are using, you will only use ones that improve productivity in the future instead of just wasting your time.
Mental Health Benefits of Digital Minimalism
Until we step back and take some time away from the online world, we often don’t realize the damage it is doing to our mental health. While the internet can help us to connect with friends and family elsewhere in the world, it can also exasperate feelings of loneliness and depression. If you find yourself mindlessly scrolling on social media, you might notice that you start to compare your current life to that of others online. These complete strangers then become your benchmark for living a good and fulfilling life instead of focusing on the people around you.
Try to unfollow individuals who don’t make you feel great about yourself online, and spend more time together in person where possible with the people you love. When we put down our phones for a while and head outdoors into nature, you’ll notice the beautiful world around you and start to appreciate all you have in your life already.
Digital minimalism is something that more of us are looking to explore, and the past year has awakened many of us to what’s really important in life. If you are struggling with continually comparing yourself to others or you find yourself constantly working until late at night, it may be time to consider your use of technology and setting more boundaries. Digital minimalism is an exciting niche in minimalism that is likely only to gain further attention in the future as our world relies more on technology.