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Tag: Digital Minimalism

Don’t Let Your Devices Tell You What to Do

From How to Stare at Your Phone Without Losing Your Soul:

There are better parameters to evaluate quality, not quantity, of the time spent staring at your screens:

  • Does this app do its job and then politely step aside?
  • Does it linger in your brain like an awkward party guest at 2:30 A.M. after everyone else already left?
  • Did I summon this app, or did it summon me via notifications?

Emphasis mine.

One of the best things I’ve done since my “digital detox” (see here and here) at the beginning of last year was to turn off only notifications that weren’t urgent. Of course, what’s considered urgent for me isn’t going to be what’s urgent for you.

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Digital Minimalism, Update 2: How It’s Ending

TL;DR: If you’ve read previous posts this month, you new I’ve been applying Cal Newport’s digital detox (covered here and here). For those just looking for the short version, here it is: I don’t have a desire to add much back to my phone and no I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything.

In the last post, I gave a pretty long list of how things were feeling about halfway through the experience. In this post, I may recap some of it but the rest of all of this is going to be new.

I’d rather share things that have happened since then, or since the beginning, than rehash anything I’ve already written. So if you’re looking to catch-up, here are the posts:

  1. Introducing Digital Minimalism in 2022
  2. Digital Minimalism, Update 1: How’s It Going?

And now, for the rest of it.

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Introducing Digital Minimalism in 2022

I’m not, nor rarely have been, much of a procrastinator. If there’s something that needs to be done, I try to take care of it in a timely fashion. Sometimes it’s easier than others, but on the whole I dislike putting things off.

To that end, I’ve used the methodology of Getting Things Done for years with the help of a couple of utilities, like Things, all of which are beyond the scope of this article.

You can read about the workflow in the article linked above. The purpose of mentioning it to show that even when I lean towards procrastination, I have a plan for how to tackle something.

To that point, there’s been book of which I’ve been aware for roughly three years that I’ve deliberate put off reading. Perhaps I’ve even avoided reading it for reasons that I’ll soon explain.

And that’s Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport, a computer science professor at Georgetown University.

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Going Nuclear For Unalloyed Benefit

Before I Start

The longer I’ve kept this post in draft, the more work I’ve been doing to try to edit it to make it sound better than it actually does. And one of the things I dislike about blogging for myself, at least, is when I spend too much time trying to write something that doesn’t really sound like me.

And that’s what this post is in danger of becoming. So forget about it. For the sake of hitting publish, I’m going to share what I have and then go with it. No perfect time like the present to hit publish, I suppose.

Okay, Let’s Go

A couple of weeks ago, I came across the phrase “unalloyed benefit” when reading this post:

No half measures here; ditch your habits without abandon and only add back in the things that contribute an unalloyed benefit to your life.

Cal Newport

“Unalloyed benefit,” I thought. And kept thinking. That sounds good. I want that (or at least to aim for that). But here’s the self-deprecating truth: I’d never read those two words together.

  • Unalloyed: Complete; unqualified.
  • Benefit: Something that promotes or enhances well-being; an advantage.

Yes, please.

But let me back up for a moment: It’s been a long time – in Internet time, at least – since I’ve written anything here. That’s a bummer for me because it’s something I really enjoy doing.

Further, it’s been a while since I’ve written a a long-form post. Granted, I try not to do that since it either comes off as rambling, too long, or not as interesting. And maybe this is going to be the same or maybe this is the exception or maybe it’s one of those Schrödinger’s posts where it’s both – its state just depends on who you are.

Further, I was going to publish this in September but there’s no real compelling reason to do so. So here it is.

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