I’m currently reading Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport, which I’m enjoying greatly. There is a section that talks about a 30-day digital declutter, which took place a few years ago during January. (As most life-changing monthly challenges do. Not for me though. 😂) I haven’t finished it yet (though by the time this post comes out, I might already have), but I instantly knew I wanted to try this experiment. You know I love a good challenge, especially if it has to do something with device usage, so I’m not gonna pass up this opportunity.
Every person will specify their rules as not two people use their devices the same way. Some might find a thing addictive but that might not be the case for everyone. So, I come with a slight advantage: I don’t have any social media accounts, except for WhatsApp, which I will delete soon (I might have already deleted it by the time this post is out), before the challenge starts (reasons why: 1) I don’t want to support Facebook by any means, 2) I found it addictive lately). However, this doesn’t mean that I don’t have a certain pull towards my gadgets. I sometimes find myself mindlessly checking a few sites, which I don’t want to do anymore. I got so used to not being bored thanks to these devices, that I forgot how to do it. But actually being bored is beneficial, and I would love to feel the same way before the Internet became a thing, and I just entertained myself with my thoughts. Cal Newport recommends just going cold turkey for a month, however, be prepared with a list of things you can do instead of mindless scrolling. Also, this doesn’t mean that you can’t even text or call someone, this challenge shouldn’t come at a price, it shouldn’t put your personal or professional life at a risk. So, here are my rules:
- check texts once per week
- write blog posts
- bloghop and answer to comments once per week
- listen to a maximum of one podcast episode per day
- watch two TV show episodes or one movie per week
- work on my story
- look up something on the Internet that has to do with learning Korean
- watch two YouTube videos per week (not counting yoga videos which I use every morning)
- check e-mail twice per week
- watch as many movies as I want on Halloween
- log my reads/movies on a Hungarian bookish/movie site
- listen to music online
- check my chat apps just to see if someone has written (I disable every notification except for calls)
- open Feedly daily to see if someone has published a new post
- binge TV shows, movies or podcast episodes
- go down a research rabbit hole when writing
- check if I have a new blog notification
- justify binging k-dramas or Korean variety shows as a means of studying
- look up every random thing that I suddenly feel the urge to
- scroll on that bookish/movie site
- read articles online
So, basically, apart from the things that I allowed myself, I won’t use any Internet at all. The areas that will be hardest in my opinion are: 1) not looking up things I don’t know because I hate not knowing something, and 2) not checking my chat apps. About the latter one, I decided that I will gradually decrease the text messages I send, and switch to calling people. The book, Digital Minimalism, has a chapter about connection vs conversation, and that inspired me to rethink my current relationships. This whole topic is not really new to me because I have been having these thoughts ever since I quit Instagram this January, that no matter how practical online communication is, it’s just nearly not the same quality as calling or meeting someone. Obviously, with some friends living abroad, seeing each other in person is impossible, unless someone finally invents teleportation. However, I can definitely try voice/video calling others instead of just texting them, it’s a much more quality time spent together. So, that’s another thing I’ll try to incorporate into my life, hopefully, with success.
It’s going to be a challenging time, especially the first week or two, according to the book, but I have faith that I’ll be able to do it. I’m aiming to write weekly recaps, and then post a wrap-up after the month is over, but we shall see about that. If you’re looking for a sign if you should do something like this, here: 👻 This cute ghost emoji is the sign you wanted.
Have you ever done something like this? Do you feel addicted to your devices? Would you do a challenge like this? If you happen to do it, then I wish you the best of luck!