This is a “tough love” episode. Many of us are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, distracted and too busy. I think a lot of that can be alleviated by decreasing your smartphone usage and fighting against social media and digital addictions. It’s time to take back our lives. It’s time to take control of our schedules. In this episode, I lead you through several steps to cut back on digital distraction, partly inspired by Cal Newport’s new book, “Digital Minimalism.”
Let me take you back in time when baby boomers, Gen Xers and the Oregon Trail Generation can remember a time in our adult lives when smartphones and social media didn’t exist—and cellphones were just for calling people.
As a kid in the 1980s, I would often whine, “I’m bored.” And I just had to figure out what to do about that boredom. Now, no one is ever allowed to be bored. Instead, we reach for our smartphones. Boredom is highly underrated.
Over the Memorial Day weekend, I bought Cal Newport’s new book, “Digital Minimalism.” And I read it in 24 hours. Newport argues that you have to figure HOW you’re going to spend your leisure time BEFORE you cut back on your digital life. If you just force yourself to put down the phone or not use social media at set times—without a plan—you’ll be anxious and fidgety, not knowing what to do with yourself.
I want to focus my leisure time on health, fitness and nutrition. I’m making a plan to walk 10,000 steps several days a week and dusting off my bike to go for fun rides again.
I culled my social media feeds, unfollowing most people on Instagram—only keeping a few real-life friends—and cutting my Twitter followings in half. I also dropped out of 27 Facebook groups! Who knew I was in so many?! I’m focusing on two that are particularly interesting, educational and inspiring, with a true community feel.
Cal Newport also talks about the importance of solitude. He says there’s this myth that solitude means being physically alone, but what it really means is freeing up your mind. We all need this. You may have to actually schedule solitude and downtime until it becomes more of a habit again.
Your tough love, digital intervention marching orders:
- Start tracking your time.
- Decide how you want to spend your leisure or down time.
- Learn more about habit formation.
- Start decluttering your digital world.
Biz Bite: Assigning ringtones to important people.
Cal Newport’s book “Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World”
Episode 5 of Deliberate Freelancer: Track Your Time for Better Efficiency
Episode 10 of Deliberate Freelancer, which talks about Cal Newport’s book “Deep Work”: Think Like a Marketer to Grow Your Business, with Megy Karydes
Episode 2 of Deliberate Freelancer about cutting out tasks and outsourcing: Discover Your Unique Brilliance
Episode 3 of Deliberate Freelancer: Host a Solo Business Retreat
James Clear’s book “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones”