Today, we live in the so-called “attention economy,” where real-time information overload our senses and attention is the currency. Apps, social media networks, and e-commerce sites are designed to overwhelm our senses and trigger a certain feeling so we’d be addicted to check them and buy whatever they’re selling.
The thing is, all those notifications, emails, and apps have been distracting our lives in ways that we couldn’t even imagine two decades ago. They literally become a nuisance when we’re working and need to concentrate.
At the workplace, where focus and concentration are crucial in getting things done, our digital lifestyle often becomes a distraction. The thing is, if you’re serious about delivering the best outcome, we should be ready to minimalize it.
You probably have heard about “less is more” life philosophy and might have deactivated your Facebook account and removed several phone apps. The thing is, it’s oftentimes only temporary. The addiction might have become too real to be disregarded entirely.
The term “digital minimalism” was coined by Cal Newport, a computer science professor at Georgetown University. In his latest book titled Digital Minimalism, he discussed how to optimize technology to maximize the value while reducing the cost to our time and energy.
The key is understanding the actual value of each and every app, social media network, and other technology. For instance, if your business relies on social media interactions, keep active in the related networks. Recruiters, for example, rely on LinkedIn to locate hard-to-find personnel.
This first principle was introduced by Henry David Thoreau in his book Walden. It refers that every activity we do has its cost, which is not necessarily in monetary form.
It means that whenever we’re spending the time to use our electronic gadgets, there are costs involved, which is more than merely the cost of the phone, the phone connection, the electricity, and the depreciation of its value.
In the Law of Diminishing Returns, there is a notion that we can’t merely add things and expect to see continued improvements.
Eventually, you and the gadget would reach a point where there’s no more progress. This explains why when there are too many apps or social media networks used, the favorable results would decrease.
The Amish have been mistaken for being anti-progress, including anti-technology. However, they aren’t merely rejecting, but they have reflected and discerned in advance before using any piece of technology.
For instance, they use the state-of-the-art milling machine, because it supports their fundamental values. In other words, the Amish are much more advanced in terms of cost-benefit analysis
These three underlying principles can be translated into behaviors that support this digital minimalism manifesto. You can start by turning off app and email notifications, which would force you only to visit them a couple times a day as scheduled.
At last, make the digital fasting a habit by starting small and in steps. After all, your career deserves your utmost attention.