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How to transition to digital minimalism and de-clutter your mind

(EDITORIAL) In this technological age, it is easy to become inundated with media and other digital clutter. Use these tips to identify the clutter in your life and to go minimal.

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Declutter your mind

Do you ever find yourself scrolling through the Facebook newsfeed and think, “what am I doing with my life?” It probably happens more often than most people can admit, so how can we change that?

According to Professor and author Cal Newton digital minimalism is the way to rid your life of this digital clutter preoccupying your time, mind and life.

Garage clutter in your brain

What does digital clutter mean? Digital clutter is accumulated over time. It can be your social media accounts, apps clogging up your phone’s storage and endless emails you never asked for. Our writer Dawn Brotherton compared it to the physical clutter you see piling up in the garage or in a junk drawer.

Just because we cannot see it, does not mean that it doesn’t affect us.

Since the internet offers us a space to live and communicate virtually, some people may not realize just how much time they are spending attached to screens. However, that is the first step towards digital minimalism – realizing that your life is cluttered.

Less is more

Though the idea of minimalism is not a new one, it has been gaining momentum in the digital age. With so many options, people feel more overwhelmed than ever before. So what’s the solution? According to Newton, digital minimalism may be the answer that everyone needs.

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Digital minimalism refers to the “idea of removing digital clutter and spending time only on what adds values to our lives.”

By succumbing to digital minimalism, one must ask what they value in life itself, what’s really important to them, and whether any digital tools help you get there. It is about “optimizing tools that really matter,” says Newton, and realizing that you cannot keep up with everything. Just because you delete Facebook does not mean you’re missing out on life. This is important to understand. Being digitally disconnected does not mean that you are disconnected from life itself.

Get started

The transition to digital minimalism can happen gradually, as not everyone is open to deleting every social media account they have. Newton suggests two approaches. The first, subtractive, requires people to remove the digital tools, services and behavior that do not add value to their lives. The second, additive, has people remove everything at once, and then add back certain digital tools that did add value to your life. Before doing so, first ask yourself what do you value? What do you want to achieve from how you spend your time?

Just because you are online does not mean that you are productive.

There are ways to substitute digital services as well. Where do you think ideas for apps came from in the first place? For instance, keep up to date with recent news with a newspaper versus scrolling through Twitter. Chances are that you will bypass spam and not feel so cluttered after the task.

The idea is to figure out what your time means, and not to simply succumb to habits because that is what you’re used to. Being off the map digitally could open up new experiences while clearing out useless digital clutter.


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Written By

Natalie is a Staff Writer at The American Genius and co-founded an Austin creative magazine called Almost Real Things. When she is not writing, she spends her time making art, teaching painting classes and confusing people. In addition to pursuing a writing career, Natalie plans on getting her MFA to become a Professor of Fine Art.

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