Embrace Digital Minimalism and Reduce Your Digital Clutter
Why You Should Reduce Digital Clutter
It seems like in today’s world we are constantly moving. Think about it. When was the last time you just sat still and observed the moments around you? You enjoyed the quiet or even the chaos around you without feeling distracted?!
There are times when my brain is pulling me in every direction and I forget to focus on the moment. I forget to be present while playing with my daughter and I forget to be present while a friend is chatting with me.
There are numerous things causing these distractions. We seem to glorify the busy life and we forget that is okay to have downtime and not constantly be on the move.
I think we can all agree that one of our biggest distractions and things pulling us out of the moment is our phones.
They are constantly calling for your attention… literally calling you. With all of those beeps, dings, and buzzes, no wonder we can’t focus on the present moment.
Then, what happens when it beeps? You pick it up to see it was only an email from Old Navy, but then somehow you wonder onto Instagram and all of the sudden, 30 minutes of your life has gone by.
Or maybe you’ve been on the other end. You haven’t seen your friend in months. You finally get to grab a coffee with her, but she’s checking her phone every few minutes. You wonder if she’s really listening or not.
Let’s stop letting our digital life distract us from our real life. Remember what it is like to be bored for a few minutes, let your mind wander, read a book, or really listen and empathize with a friends conversation.
Tips For Digital Minimalism
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Declutter Digital Photos
Start scrolling through the photos on your phone and you’ll notice you have a lot of unnecessary pictures. I mean how many pictures do I need until I get the perfect angle of my bathroom sink (for a recent Instagram post)? And why did I keep all 10 of them?
Digital clutter is still clutter, so let’s delete those duplicate pictures. You only need one picture of your kid playing on the slide at the park.
Delete the duplicate photos, back up the remaining photos, and then find a way to actually keep and use the photos you love.
I use Google to back up all of my pictures. This way they are saved in case something were to ever happen to my phone.
Then (this is something I’m still working on), print out the pictures you love or make a photo book out of them.
Try making a yearbook for your family each year, full of all the pictures you took throughout the year. Or print them out and make scrapbooks, put them in a photo box, or display them in frames. Just do something so they don’t end up lost forever.
Delete Unused Apps
How many apps are on your phone that you don’t’ use? I was surprised at how many I had that I only used once and have never used again.
If it’s not helping you, delete it. Especially if it’s sending you notifications and you never use it… that’s even worse.
I’m only saying this because I know you think it’s annoying too.
It’s easier to swipe the notification away at the moment.
But that notification just grabbed your attention and now you are on your phone for who knows how long, giving your child free rein to draw on herself with a marker.
Take a couple minutes and delete all the apps that you are not using.
Unsubscribe From Email Subscriptions
How many times a day do you get an email that you don’t even open?
Again, email is something that grabs our attention away from the present moment. You can be derailed from checking those todo’s off the list in a matter of seconds.
“Ding,” oh it’s just an email. Oh hey, someone commented on my Facebook Post. Then it’s down the rabbit hole and you’re even farther away from tackling the things you need to accomplish.
If you are constantly being spammed with the next big promotion, it is time to unsubscribe!
This is actually easier than you think. You can use unroll.me.com to unsubscribe from unwanted emails in just minutes.
I had 4 email accounts that I was receiving countless emails to. In less than 2 minutes I cleared those 4 email accounts of 76 email subscriptions. I did this with unroll.me.com. It’s free and crazy fast.
I could not believe I was subscribed to so many newsletters. Every time you shop online or want a free resource from a blogger you are giving away your email. I stayed subscribed to my 3 favorite bloggers and zero stores/brands.
If I had to make up a random statistic to describe how much less distracting my phone is now… I’d say I’m getting 75% fewer notifications, now that I unsubscribed from so many emails.
Turn Off Notifications
This one is huge. This one was a game changer for me. About a year ago I turned off most of my notifications. The only notifications I get are text, phone calls, and some emails.
Social media is probably the biggest time sucker out there. Turn the notifications off! Turn them all off.
If you are wondering why you never have time to get anything done, or if you feel like you never get to spend real, intentional time with your loved ones… turn them off!
Facebook can wait. Instagram will still be there tomorrow. Turn them off. All of them.
What if someone leaves me a comment and I need to respond? What if someone messages me and I need to get back to them?
They can wait. If it’s important they will get a hold of you.
How many times have you gotten on social media, to quickly answer a message, and then actually gotten straight off? I bet never, or very rarely.
These apps were designed to make you addicted to them. They want you to be on their platform. They don’t want you to leave.
Don’t let them suck you in.
Okay, I realize it’s getting dramatic around here, but seriously. Do yourself, your family, and your mental health a favor… turn the notifications off.
What about email notifications?
I could argue that you should turn your email notifications off as well. I do highly recommend it but do realize I am being a bit of a hypocrite. I currently don’t have mine off. I work from home so it feels like I need to have them on. I realize this is just an excuse.
I’ve been thinking more and more about turning mine off, but haven’t brought myself to do it.
I actually had my work email notifications turned off when I worked outside the home. Nothing was worse than being home with my family and getting a, not so kind, email from an unhappy parent (I was a teacher).
Or I often got emails from students telling me that they didn’t understand the homework (I taught math). I was always sucked into those emails because I wanted to help them. But then I was not really taking a break or letting myself rest.
Eventually, I turned those emails off. It allowed me to relax when I was home and let go of some of the stress that came with being a teacher.
When you are home, be home. Leave work at work. Turn your work email off and enjoy your family. Let yourself rest.
Even text messages can wait. If something really important is going on, they will call you.
How To Stay On Top Of Things
I realize that we live in this world where it is still necessary to be plugged in at times. You probably think that if you turn off all notifications that you’ll never know what’s going on. You may miss out some important things. I get that.
Set aside times in the day that are designated for checking the notifications you may have missed out on.
Sit down and check your email and messages all at once. Respond to everyone and then give yourself a designated time to be on social media. I have even gone so far as to set a timer for myself. This will remind you to get off social media and come back to the real world.
If You Are Really Struggling
If all notifications are off, all unused apps are deleted, and you are still feeling a strong draw towards your phone, consider taking a break.
This can be a real addiction. I honestly struggle sometimes myself. I keep my phone in the bedroom when I really want to be focused on my daughter. I find myself being drawn to it, to “check on it.” To make sure I’m not missing anything. Seriously, what would I even be missing?!
I’ve gotten way better at this, but I know it can be a real problem for some people.
Try deleting Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, etc. from your phone altogether. Give yourself a break for one week and see where it takes you.
I bet you will find a big difference in your mood, that you will realize all the small moments you were missing, and that you’ll get more done than you have in a long time.
It may feel weird at first because you won’t know what to do with yourself. Get down on the floor and play with your kids or get back to the hobby you thought you didn’t have time for anymore.
This Is More Important Than You Think
I feel so strongly about this because I have struggled with this. When I started blogging I still had all my notifications turned on. My phone was constantly grabbing my attention and I was pulled into the virtual world instead of letting myself rest in the real world.
I was missing those small moments with my daughter. I was tuning out conversations around me because I was writing Instagram captions in my head. I was missing the real-life moments that matter.
I use to glorify busy. It is still REALLY hard for me to just rest and not be doing something. I get anxious if I’m not being “productive.”
While this may seem unrelated to digital clutter, I promise they are SO closely related. It wasn’t until I cut back on these things that I realized how much I was letting my digital life distract me. Being in my digital world is the complete opposite of being productive.
Be intentional. Use your time intentionally. Let yourself slow down and enjoy the world around you. Start by letting your digital life have less control over you.
Need More Help With All Things Clutter?!
If you can relate to how hectic your life feels and how you don’t know how to slow down. I highly recommend decluttering your house. I might sound crazy and like that is the last thing you have time for, but trust me, it does SO MUCH MORE than make your house look nicer.
I’m not even talking minimalism here. I’m just saying get rid of the stuff you don’t use or love.
I have a ton of helpful resources that will help you. I have listed a bunch of other blog posts below, that will help you get started. Plus, I have two really awesome resources for you.
You can do my FREE 3-day challenge and kick start your decluttering. The challenge takes you through the process of decluttering your whole bedroom and leave you with the tools you need to tackle the whole house.
I also have a Declutter Guide that will help you Declutter Your Whole House In Your Own Time.
Happy Minimizing! 🙂
I hope you found something helpful here and that you will strive to minimize your digital life in at least one area.
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