Digital Minimalism - Cal Newport

About 1 min reading time

In early 2020, I discovered Cal Newport's book "Digital Minimalism", a discovery inspired in part by Marcel's insightful blog post on the subject.

The book piqued my interest and remains an influential resource. Its emphasis on successful anecdotes initially required some adjustment, and I found myself questioning the idea that career advancements could be solely attributed to following an author's guidelines. However, I came to appreciate the book not only for its rule-setting but also for the in-depth rationale provided behind these rules, enabling their integration into personal routines.

In late 2020, I made a significant decision: I considerably reduced the notifications on my devices, recognizing them as primary distractions. My approach to news sources also underwent a shift from a heavy reliance on Google News to a more streamlined selection. Inspired by Newport's book, I removed certain apps from my iPhone, generally confined its use to my home office, and, thanks to the "Screen Time" feature, limited its functionalities to those of a basic phone after 8 PM. As a result, I now primarily use my devices for work or task-specific purposes.

These changes, first implemented in 2020, have greatly helped me in distinguishing between work and leisure time. Platforms like Mastodon, initially mere distractions, have transformed into effective tools for task completion. This shift is something I have adapted well to over time.

Throughout this journey, I have maintained a firm stance on limiting notifications. For each app, I continuously question whether I truly require its notifications, a query that usually garners a "no." In terms of reducing usage of certain social media apps, my transition towards using Mastodon more selectively has proven to be a successful adjustment.

This post is based on my opinion and experience. It is based on what worked for me in my context. I recognize, that your context is different.
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