Digital Minimalism 3: Screen Time Is Just A Number!

As I started to take control of my phone usage and screen usage in general, I resorted to reducing the number of hours I use my phone in a day. I got as low as 28 minutes in a day! But the process of digital minimalism as popularized by Cal Newport is a lot more about the philosophy behind the tech usage and less about the time you spend on them.

As we got locked down at home, my screen time numbers started climbing to alarming levels. On a closer look, I realized that I was still using my phone super minimally, only the essentials; but the essentials list had grown in size to include work, socializing and entertainment. The larger numbers show up when I use my phone to video call friends or when I read ebooks or listen to music.

It’s more important to note how you are using technology and being deliberate about it, rather than just counting the time spent in it. Decide what are the low level activities that you want to minimize in favor of maximizing high level activities. I want to keep my social media usage and YouTube usage super minimal in order to do more of the things I actually enjoy more: listening to music, reading books, watching movies and series and so on.

There is no magic one solution fits all for digital minimalism and productivity in general. Follow too much productivity advice and you might burn out while not accomplishing anything. A good idea would be to sit down and pen down your experiences on paper. I highly recommend journalling on paper to clarify your thoughts. Write down what brings you joy and do that more. I enjoy YouTube and Reddit use only when it is deliberate: watch videos of this specific YouTuber/specific subreddit. If I go on the home page on these platforms, I tend to fill up my mind with a lot of useless junk.

Remember that Digital Minimalism is a process and a lifestyle to attain. It’s not only about reducing your digital activities but to find other interesting things to instead of them. We want to cut out the negative aspects of our digital life and maximize the positive ones. Experiment and decide what works for you. Share your ideas in the comments!

Photo by annapictures on Pixabay

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