Last Sunday, June 30th, a group of digital minimalism enthusiasts and friends met at the Jason George pub in Toronto to learn more about digital minimalism and intentional digital use.
During this two-hour event, we discussed what digital minimalism is, the three core principles of digital minimalism, and committed to implementing a 30-day digital declutter challenge for the month of July.
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The event began with a short introduction of myself and the meetup group, Toronto’s Digital Minimalism Meetup. Following that, everyone introduced themselves to the group and did an ice-breaker activity, one interesting fact about ourselves.
We had a very diverse group in terms of our backgrounds, professional fields, and personal experiences, which added richly to our discussion.
Following introductions, we had a discussion on defining digital minimalism, and what it means to us. We all pretty much covered Cal Newport’s definition of digital minimalism: “a philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time on a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support things you value, and then happily miss out on everything else.”
Afterwards, we discussed the three core principles of digital minimalism and did an exercise for each one of the principles as it relate to our experiences with digital use and digital minimalism.
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According to the first principle of digital minimalism, clutter is costly. Cluttering our time and attention with too many devices, apps, and screen time cost us our productivity, real-life connections, creativity and the pursuit of well-developed leisure life.
For this exercise, we wrote down some of the digital clutters that we struggle with and shared it with the group. Most of us had similar challenges, such as, social media, email, and junk information. Someone mentioned reward points for groceries and shopping in general as part of their digital clutter.
We then moved onto the second principle of digital minimalism, optimization is important. This principle states that we should be intentional with technology and figure out how to use it to best support the things that we value.
For this exercise, we wrote down the way in which we can utilize technology to support our lifestyle. One person mentioned joining a community of professionals on Twitter to stay updated about resources and information in their field. Another person mentioned how they use apps for time management, and to organize their tasks and to-do lists.
The third principle of digital minimalism states that intentionality is satisfying. “Digital minimalists derive significant satisfaction from their general commitment to being more intentional about how they engage with new technologies.”
We combined the third principle with the 30-day digital declutter challenge, and everyone committed to eliminate one optional technology for a 30-day time period. Some of the challenges we committed to included, putting phone away for 30-minutes each day, limiting reddit use to during commuting, and deleting all browsing apps off phone.
The digital declutter challenge isn’t about perfection, it is about intentionality. During the declutter challenge, we will consciously assess the technologies that we use in day to day basis in terms of their usefulness. Failure is completely allowed, and even encouraged.
At the end of the 30-day period, we will re-introduce these optional technologies back into our lives by determining the value that they provide us and only if they provide us value, and how to best maximize their values.
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Overall, the meetup event was a great experience. I enjoyed meeting likeminded people, sharing personal challenges and experiences, and learning from each and everyone that contributed. I would have never really considered how reward points can be part of the problem and how we should be conscious about their use.
I would like to thank everyone that came out to our first meetup event! I hope it was just as enjoyable and educational for everyone as it was for me.
Until next time… 🙂