It seems as a society we have deemed hoarding (physical things) as a bad thing. But what about hoarding digital things? Shouldn’t we also propose a more minimalist approach to our digital lives?
- Better to have fewer apps than more apps. Everyday, uninstall one app.
- Strive to simplify your digital life, not to “improve” or “optimize” your digital life.
- When in doubt, delete. Don’t let “fear of deletion” hold you back. If you have files on your desktop or downloads folder you haven’t touched for over a month, just delete it (don’t back it up).
- Use apps and programs which are more simple, minimal, and beautiful. My favorite apps include ia writer (writing), “via” web browser for Android, and VSCO for processing mobile photos. For Apple I love iMovie, Garage Band, iBooks, Photos.
The point isn’t to have nothing
This is key:
Don’t strive to have nothing; strive to have a few things which are essential to your personal/artistic creativity.
For example, if your passion is photography of course you need to possess a camera, and you must keep the photos which are meaningful to you.
For example I use Dropbox to only keep the photos that I care about. And over time, I keep distilling and editing down my collection of photos, to only keep the photos I truly care about.
You don’t need to buy new devices to be a “digital minimalist”
This is another big shift in my thinking:
Rather than thinking of buying the newest devices to ‘simplify’ your life– think to yourself: “What devices can I get RID of, or re-furbish, to simplify my life?”
For example I have always had this exotic notion of just owning ‘one device to rule them all’ (the ultimate device where I could become the ultimate minimalist, with the least amount of weight, which can do everything).
One experiment I’ve been doing lately is following this ‘two phones’ lifestyle (instead of traveling with a laptop and tablet, just using two phones instead). This has actually worked quite well (an iPhone and Android phone), but still– there are many things which are better to do on a laptop. So now, I’m trying to figure out:
Given all the devices I ALREADY own, how can I maximize my use of them, and productivity of them?
A unified life
At this point, we should think of our digital lives AND our physical lives as the same thing. We have one unified life.
So let us strive to be consistent in both domains in our life. If we decide to be a minimalist with owning few things, perhaps we should also be a digital minimalist (own a few apps/programs/devices).
But let us also not get too caught up in minimalism for the sake of it. Beyond minimalism is simplicity; which takes more elegance, power, and self-assurance.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”Leonardo da Vinci
And once again– the goal is to produce. Make more, dream more, and attempt more.