I sometimes toss the words ‘digital minimalism’ out there as one of the main avenues I explore, both as a science and a philosophy. That can mean a number of things, so to alleviate confusion, any of the following practices can respect the said paradigm.
Minimize the technology engaged to attain the desired end, to address your priorities: the priorities you should make a priority to prioritize.
Alternatively, identify the acute stressors in your day-to-day existence. Should any of these concern a given technology, take the gradual steps to eliminate the culprit. The same can be said (and has been, here and there, every few lunar cycles) about any category of acute stressors. Make lifestyle changes to eliminate them, even if that sometimes involves assimilating an entirely different existence: not necessarily overnight, though an overnight change is recommendable, attainable and detoxifying.
To further enumerate the possible candidates:
Touchscreen smartphones: my few seasons of usage permeated severe acute stress.
Specific applications: messengers, platforms, notifications. With gradual elimination, you might well find the underlying device purposeless.
Transition away from cloud tools: towards open source, independent of centralized providers, maybe console based, maybe offline.
You might still question how and where the above economizes the digital component. Consider. The cloud interaction heavily involves the internet: more nodes, more redundancy, more data storage, more network connectivity, more vulnerability, more power usage, much more of the digital in general. Working offline, open-source, plain text, command-line or plain vanilla paper: any of that generally consumes less of not only the said external resources, but the much drained energy, which means less noise, healthier emotional state.
For communication methods, I use only E-Mail and sometimes basic phone and SMS when in a country with a SIM card, presently not the case. Nothing of messengers, Instagram, micro-blogging, social networks or SaaS cloud tools. Concerning the cloud, I leverage mainly infrastructure as a service, ie entire VPSs or object storage.
As an alternative, imagine more analog tools, more paper, more paper books, notebooks, index cards, mind maps or such objects as have existed far longer next to the infinitesimally brief existence of the internet.
More ways to minimize digital traces and gain independence from centralized providers:
- Cash payments over electronic (cards, online, PIX (in Brazil), cryptocurrency, etc) where possible.
- Opt for independent, self-hosted, or offline in lieu of centralized systems. Use cases: medical records, music/photo libraries, general content distribution.
- Personal, non shareable documents call for an even more obvious case. Self-manage these without cloud tools.
- Avoid creating new accounts on every whim.
Of most importance:
Even with online or cloud services, structure your life such that you minimally suffer should any of them cease to exist. Ie, don’t count on one provider for appeal to references/recommendations/commentaries. Either manage these independently, or at least keep plain text, offline copies.
A frequently raised doubt: I need this device, this platform, this account to address such and such business/promotional/work-related/bedtime necessity. Priorities. The status-quo is not to remain immutable. Other lifestyle changes are impending.
This may lead to a different sort of existence: more solitary in likelihood, more rustic, one that over years may lead to the assimilation of an altogether different mentality. Priorities.
Possible first step
Identify one of the major acute stressors, for many of us digital (whereas matrimonial/family issues are beyond my expertise). Take gradual steps to minimize or eliminate it.
Second step: repeat the first.
Questions, comments? Connect.