Disconnecting to gain perspective

Posted by Simon Clark

April 24, 2019

After some annoying illness earlier this year I was struck by the benefits of disconnecting and how it helped to gain perspective. Time to think is hugely beneficial and it has prompted me to look at how I can use this learning ongoing to create future opportunities. I did some research and found “digital minimalism”.

Digital Minimalism?

“Digital minimalism is a philosophy that helps you question what digital communication tools (and behaviours surrounding these tools) add the most value to your life. It is motivated by the belief that intentionally and aggressively clearing away low-value digital noise and optimizing your use of the tools that really matter, can significantly improve your life.” (Cal Newport)

I have realised that I spend a lot of time with technology…..its part of daily work and social life. Research suggests that the average person in the UK spends more than a day a week online and 16-24 year olds spend on average 34.3 hours a week on the internet. Britons are now addicted and check their smart phones every 12 minutes! The report on a decade of digital dependency is fascinating…more than a third of people feel stressed and cut off without their phone and people treasure their smart phone more than any other device. Interesting.

Technology…

…. is intrinsically neither good nor bad. The key is using it to support your goals and values, rather than letting it use you.

Choosing a focused life in a noisy world

Digital minimalists are all around us. They’re the calm, happy people who can hold long conversations without furtive glances at their phones. They can get lost in a good book, a woodworking project, or a leisurely morning run. They can have fun with friends and family without the obsessive urge to document the experience. They stay informed about the news of the day, but don’t feel overwhelmed by it. They don’t experience “fear of missing out” because they already know which activities provide them with meaning and satisfaction.

  • Steve Jobs didn’t lack vision, when he unveiled the iPhone, even he couldn’t see the future he was creating. It unshackled the internet from our desks and put it in our pockets.
  • It’s said the we live in a time where we have unlimited access to information. Maybe it’s the other way around: we live in a time where information has unlimited access to us. Our time and our energy are very limited, and we’re investing ever more online.
  • Technology isn’t inherently good or bad, but our relationship with technology has become unsustainable.
  • Barring any cataclysmic event, the blazing pace of technological advancement will continue. So, what are we supposed to do? It seems the thing that we’re missing is a framework, a philosophy that allows us to leverage technology in the way that it was intended: to serve us.

It looks to me that digital minimalism is a process: it’s not something that you do, it’s something that you are and become a gatekeeper of what you allow in your digital life.