Last Thursday I published a summary of an online conversation between Ryan Holiday and Cal Newport. In it, these two authors discussed Newport’s latest book, “Digital Minimalism.” If you haven’t read it yet, I’d encourage you to do so, as you’ll find out:
- why Newport still likes the Kindle.
- why he does not see Digital Minimalism as a spectrum but rather a constellation of positions.
- how and why he softened his views on social media.
- how we are all like presidents and emperors.
Also, if you want to keep up with Newport’s online musings, I highly recommend you subscribe to his newsletter here.
Today, I’ll briefly explore three points of action I’ve taken in the last few months, related to being ‘minimal’ in my digital world.
My Digital Life: Three Changes in Three Months
There are others, but here are some of the most significant changes.
1. Phone Apps Deleted, and Home Screen Rearranged. I deleted all monetized social media apps such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I still maintain accounts, but only access them through desktop devices. I rearranged my home screens. The first one is blank, with only a view of my beloved wife and the core phone apps (phone, camera, messages) at the bottom. The next screens are minimal, containing thoughts for the day on one, three more apps (exercise, Gottman relationship card decks, and alarm clock), and finally a screen with apps grouped by function or topic. All in all, when I pick up my phone, I see far less clutter, and I feel much more focused. Where I used to go to check my ‘feed’ and scroll, I now end up putting my phone back down and returning to my focus elsewhere.
2. Facebook: restructured. I removed 95% of notifications. I removed everyone bar two or three people from my feed; in other words, I unfollowed them but kept them as ‘friends.’ Now, I can scroll to the end of my feed within a minute, and within approximately 10 to 15 posts. Yes, the infinite scroll is not actually infinite! If I want to see posts from certain people, I look them up. I do it on my terms, not the algorithm’s terms.
3. Weekend offline. Barring Facebook messenger on my phone to contact friends and family, I have started experimenting with staying completely off the desktop / laptop environment on Saturday and Sunday. Others have called similar approaches a ‘digital sabbath.’ While I don’t go completely offline, I am far more engaged in the here and now than before, and I can already feel – and enjoy – the difference.
Changes for the Future:
1. Vision for digital engagement. As you’ll have read about in my most recent Full Cup Friday post, the concept of vision is really important. I want to write out a vision for my digital engagement. I’ll be posting it here, once I do.
2. Read the book. Once I receive my analog copy of “Digital Minimalism: Choosing A Focused Life in a Noisy World,” I will read it.
3. Review it and share with you, readers! I will read it, summarize it, and create an action plan which you’ll read about here on Hybrid Consonance. I’ll be focusing particularly on how I’ll be applying Newport’s ideas to the key Hybrid Consonance concepts: Deep Work, Deliberate Practice, and Cultural Intelligence. In other words, how to choose a more focused study, work and personal life, given the cultural conditions of our workplaces, families, and communities.
Other Posts This Week On Hybrid Consonance
Move on Monday: How we move our bodies is crucial to moving into action and getting into the right mindset. As a musician, I know how crucial breathing is. This is a short
breathe breeze through an important topic.
Talk On Tuesday: You’re reading about it right here! To read more posts in this category, click on the tag “Talk On Tuesday” at the top left of this page.
Work On Wednesday: High Potential and High Performance are phrases capturing the minds and the money of a growing number of people. I am working towards the terms “Holistic High Potential.” As I prepare to speak at the Just Learning Conference 2019 on February 16th, I’ll continue to share my thoughts on this important topic. See the post about Harnessing High Potential here, and High Potential: Mindset, Motion, and Mentoring here.
Think It Through Thursday: With all the buzz around Cal Newport’s book, “Digital Minimalism,” I thought it high time I actually read and absorbed his book on finding the right work working right: “So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trumps Passion In Finding the Work You Love.” You’ll finally get to read a summary right here, on Hybrid Consonance.