Tiny Navajo Listens: Digital Minimalism

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February 5, 2020 by TinyNavajo

Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport, narrated by Will Damron

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*Published February 5, 2019*

digital minimalismEver since I’ve started my new job, and even a while before that I have started to notice that I haven’t been able to focus as well as I used to, and that I have to have some sort of noise on while I’m by myself. I first heard about this book through a podcast (because I need noise while exercising), and thought that I should give it a try to see if I’m able to refocus and give my brain some time to rest in actual quiet.

Minimalism is the art of knowing how much is just enough. Digital minimalism applies this idea to our personal technology. It’s the key to living a focused life in an increasingly noisy world.

In this timely and enlightening book, the bestselling author of Deep Work introduces a philosophy for technology use that has already improved countless lives.

Digital minimalists are all around us. They’re the calm, happy people who can hold long conversations without furtive glances at their phones. They can get lost in a good book, a woodworking project, or a leisurely morning run. They can have fun with friends and family without the obsessive urge to document the experience. They stay informed about the news of the day, but don’t feel overwhelmed by it. They don’t experience “fear of missing out” because they already know which activities provide them meaning and satisfaction.

Now, Newport gives us a name for this quiet movement, and makes a persuasive case for its urgency in our tech-saturated world. Common sense tips, like turning off notifications, or occasional rituals like observing a digital sabbath, don’t go far enough in helping us take back control of our technological lives, and attempts to unplug completely are complicated by the demands of family, friends and work. What we need instead is a thoughtful method to decide what tools to use, for what purposes, and under what conditions.

Drawing on a diverse array of real-life examples, from Amish farmers to harried parents to Silicon Valley programmers, Newport identifies the common practices of digital minimalists and the ideas that underpin them. He shows how digital minimalists are rethinking their relationship to social media, rediscovering the pleasures of the offline world, and reconnecting with their inner selves through regular periods of solitude. He then shares strategies for integrating these practices into your life, starting with a thirty-day “digital declutter” process that has already helped thousands feel less overwhelmed and more in control.

Technology is intrinsically neither good nor bad. The key is using it to support your goals and values, rather than letting it use you. This book shows the way.

Length: 6 hrs and 59 mins

I do know that I need to work on minimizing what technological items I’m using and for what reasons I’m using them. I have nearly always glued to my phone or iPad, and if not that then I have the TV on at home to a random YouTube video so that there is noise in my apartment. Ever since I’ve moved out here to Oklahoma, I haven’t been one to let quiet invade my senses all that much. Now that I have a full-time job, it’s even harder to find time to be quiet. But when I started to notice that I wasn’t able to focus as well is when I was starting my new journal and my entries were small, sporadic, and didn’t really make much sense.

I found that we had this in audiobook format, and I rejoiced! I could listen to it as I drove to and from work. And I did…I don’t remember much, but I do know that I need to learn how to refocus and lose my technology for just a little bit.

This is most likely a book that I will turn to again in the coming months as I strive to allow in some quiet into my head; not only to reclaim my journaling habit, but to reclaim some sense of who I am when I’m not at work and not listening to random stuff all the time. I would like to be able to say this is what I like and don’t like, based on what I actually like and don’t like, not what others tell to like and not like.

I have seen that Cal Newport has written some other works, so I may turn to those as well as I figure out what I want in my life and how to keep myself from mindlessly scrolling. How have you noticed your habits changing when it comes to your technology? Are these good changes or bad changes? Comment below and let me know!

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