Jacob Evans

Digital Declutter

Technology-fueled diversions are plentiful and almost ubiquitously accessible. It’s not hard to find quick hits of entertainment during times of momentary boredom, and if we’re not careful, they can consume a great deal of our time and attention. I often fall victim to these shallow and time waisting distractions and I am worse for it.

I quit checking Facebook a few years ago and I can confidently say I'm a better person because of it. Unfortunately, other sources of instant gratification have taken its place, namely: Twitter, Reddit, binge watching TV and news media.

I’ve been making my way through Cal Newport’s book on Digital Minimalism and have determined to reevaluate all optional technologies that have led to a disproportionate pull on my attention. I’m going cold-turkey and eliminating these sources of diversion during a 30-day detox period. After which time I’ll evaluate anew each tool and determine if it adds deep value to my life and work.

Per Newport, a digital detox includes the following three elements:

  1. Setting aside a 30-day period during which you will take a break from optional technologies in your life
  2. During this 30-day break, explore and rediscover activities and behaviors that you find satisfying and meaningful.
  3. At the end of the break, reintroduce option technologies into your life, starting from a blank slate. For each technology you reintroduce, determine what value it serves in your life and how specifically you will use it so as to maximize this value.

The optional technologies I’m eliminating for the next 30-days are social media (all forms of it), podcasts, written news media (I will still listen to a short NPR news segment twice a day), and streaming television services. I’ll also put my feed reading and compulsive website checking on hiatus during this period.

The time I have reclaimed is going to be allocated towards reading books, being 100% present when visiting with family and friends, working on personal projects, and times of solitude to think about future endeavors.

I sincerely hope my technology declutter results in a more focused mind and meaningful existence—only time will tell of course. Regardless of the outcome, I look forward to sharing what I’ve lost, gained and learned by eliminating optional technologies from my life.