I know, I know. The modern world is so cool, so trendy, so easily accessible. All information at the touch of a finger.
But also, the modern world is an attention-grabbing, soul-eating, focus destroying, productivity-killing monster.
How to escape from it?
The best option?
Turn off all your digital devices and go for a walk in nature. Even better – rent a dumpster and trash everything. (Just kidding, don’t do that).
Second best option;
Turn off non-important notifications on your phone, tablet, and computer. Tip: most of them are in this category.
Unfollow people who don’t add value on Twitter, Instagram, or any social network you use.
Unfriend people on Facebook you don’t know.
Unsubscribe from all the marketing emails you don’t read anyway.
Delete all unimportant emails.
Close all high school email accounts you haven’t opened in a decade (hopefully nobody uses email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org for professional purposes, but if you do; hey who am I to tell you what to do, and what not to do).
Delete all unimportant files on the Cloud service you use.
Delete all digital junk that clogs your phone, tablet, computer (unused apps, old pictures you don’t look at anyway, duplicates, songs you haven’t listened to since you were a teenager, movies and TV series you’ve watched, high school word documents, previous job excel spreadsheets, etc.).
(Important: don’t delete anything that makes you happy or bring you value! P.S.: you can have your favorite mylittlepony97 email account 😊).
Have a clean desktop without too many applications, or better yet without anything, so you can focus on the important tasks you want to do on your computer.
Only have one application open and focus on it.
Clear your digital To-Do list from all tasks that have been on it for more than a month and adopt Today and Someday list (Today – tasks I will complete today; Someday – tasks I will do one day– I borrowed this technique from The Minimalists – thank you again).
Put only 2 or 3 most important tasks (MIT) on your Today list and then complete them by the end of the day.
If you met me 8 years ago, you could probably tell that I am a big technology fan. I had everything I ever wanted. Big screen TV, high-quality surround system, HI-FI audio system, 4 portable speakers, dozens of expensive headphones (you name it, I probably had it at one point in my life), a desktop computer, a tablet, 2 phones, 2 laptop computers (PC & Mac), and many other small technological gadgets I don’t even remember now. Everything was important…
Trust me, I really appreciate all the technological advancements of the modern world … but I think it all went too far. We forgot how to enjoy life with our friends and family. We forgot what sunrise and sunset look like. We forgot the smell of nature. We forgot everything because we are constantly glued to glowing screens. They blurred lines between important and non-important. In today’s world, everything seems urgent. But when everything is important and urgent, usually none of it is. At least not really.
Either is our phone, or tablet, or computer, or a TV, or a smartwatch, or game console, or some sort of screen. If someone had said 20 years ago that we would spend so much time in the digital world, we would have told them they are crazy. But this is what is happening to us right now.
Our connectedness disconnected us from what really matters. But we have the final saying on the subject. We can decide which is more important to us – our family and friends in real life or our family and friends in the digital world.
Certainly not all at once. It happened one improvement at a time. Flip phones became smartphones, small screens of smartphones turned into bigger tablet screens, desktop computers became light and powerful notebooks, wooden speakers became smart speakers with screens on them, small TVs became big, curved, OLED, 3D, 4k (put something) TVs, cars dashboards became all screens. Park benches became smart benches with charging slots and solar panels. Even trash cans on the streets became smart trash cans with the advertisement screens on them.
Our world is going in a new direction. Not necessarily a bad one, but certainly new to the human race. And we need to adapt to it. The best we can. But, and it’s a big but, we cannot forget the beauty of the real world. The beauty of the sunrise, the beauty of the warm wind on our cheeks, the beauty of the flower, the beauty of the kiss, and the hug, and the smile. Not just likes and hearts seen on screen.
We need a real human connection to feel true happiness. A video call can never give us that. No matter how much technology advances, it will never be able to replace real human interactions and experiences. If we constantly upgrade our tech but downgrade our life, then we’re not really living.
In the last few years, I got rid of almost 80% of electrical or battery-powered devices I owned. I find immense value in some, but I decided I don’t need all of them. I’m still a fan of technology and I really like how it looks and works, but no more I need to possess it to appreciate its usefulness. I got rid of lots of technology, but I gained increased productivity, focus, and a clear mind.
List of devices I use and recently got rid of:
(I have to admit that I am still in the process of removing some devices from my life, but I’m satisfied with how it’s going.)
1.Phone – still use it and find immense value in it (here is the pic of my home screen – yes, I don’t have anything else – I use the App library that came with iOS 14).
2. Tablet ❌ – don’t use it lately, will sell or donate it.
3. Laptop – use every single day for web browsing, work, leisure, music, movies, etc. (My desktop is completely free of clutter, with only nature backgrounds that change every 5 minutes). I have a Mac and a PC – will get rid of the PC in the near future, because who the hell needs 2 laptops??? I know I sound like a hypocrite with 2 laptops but trust me; I’m working on detaching myself from the PC world.
4. Professional DSLR camera – almost sold it, but now that I am married my wife uses it often.
5. Headphones – Bose Quiet Comfort 35 – the best noise-canceling headphones in the world 🤘🏼
6. Bose SoundDock Portable ❌ – sold. I would like to get a smart speaker one day
7. Hi-Fi audio system – 1 sold a few weeks ago, 1 left in the living room because I really enjoy loud music
8. Random portable speakers around the house – sold almost all of them, except for one small grenade-shaped speaker I use outdoors.
9. TV ❌ – ?, yep, I don’t watch it so I don’t need it.
10. Portable SSD – I use it to back up all important pictures, music, and documents (I also use Google Drive).
11. Oura ring – the best sleep tracking device ever. I haven’t taken it off since I bought it.
This is my complete digital life today. I plan to reduce it even further down the road, and keep only devices that add to my life, and don’t distract me from it.
I don’t use lots of social media either. People who are really important to me know that they can reach me via WhatsApp, SMS, or call. They also know that I’m not the best person to contact through all the other outlets because I don’t check them often. And even when I do, I only do it for a few minutes.
I have deliberately simplified my digital life because I believe that my time is too valuable to be constantly bombarded with social media gimmicks. I don’t read the news; I don’t check my phone all the time; I don’t watch TV, nor I use any other entertaining service.
If I want to know what is going on in the world, someone always tells me. That way I am connected with the current events, but also disconnected. For me, important information is one conversation away.
I don’t send too many messages either, and I don’t call people often. Only when there is a purpose behind it. If I need you, I will contact you. If I want to know how you are, I will reach to you. If I want to spend quality time with you, I will do it in person, not over the screen.
My life is simpler because of the choices I made. Some of them are hard, but mostly the things that are hard in life, matter the most.
We need to remember that if technological advancements and digital life get in the way of a life worth living, maybe we need to pause and ask ourselves when is the time to turn everything off and start living.
P.S.: I still think we can use technology to make our daily life easier, I am not a Luddite, but in using it, we need to be really certain that we’re the ones taking advantage, not the other way around.
Which device or social media platform can you remove from your life to make it better?
Let me know in the comments down below.
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