If you’ve followed me for any amount of time, you know that one of my favorite topics to explore and evaluate is our relationship with devices, the internet, and social media. For two summers, we’ve done device-free summer with kidlet and have had a lot of success with that (he even requested to have one last summer when I wasn’t planning on it.) It truly changed my kid. I realized today I don’t even know where his Ipad went. I haven’t seen it in almost a year. He used to be attached to that thing. And video games, which had hooked him hard, are now played as an afterthought and for hardly any time at all. He now complains to me that all the kids at school want to talk about is Fortnight—a game he’s never played and has no interest in playing. So I’m a believer in the digital detox or break, or in this case, declutter.
Unlike kidlet, I haven’t gone device-free, but I’ve done a number of things over the years to curtail my constant need to check my phone and other things on the internet so that I can focus and get my writing (aka deep work) done. I’m constantly refining my process. So when I heard Cal Newport, author of Deep Work, was coming out with a new book called Digital Minimalism, you know I was pre-ordering that thing as fast I could click. The book released this week, and I’m almost all the way through it. I’ll probably give a more thorough review once I’m done, but it’s already inspired me to try his method of a 30-Day Digital Declutter.
This isn’t a detox per se. It’s more of a swipe the slate clean of all your social media (and other digital distractions that may suck up your time like video games or too much TV streaming), see how you feel for 30 days. And then, after thirty days, scrutinize each app or service carefully to decide whether or not you want to add it back into your life.
I don’t anticipate that I will give up all social media after this. For one, it’s part of my job. However, I am looking forward to breaking my cycle of check, check, checking my phone in the bored moments or when I first wake up. I had already deleted Twitter off of my phone a few months ago and haven’t felt the need to add it back. For this thirty day stretch, I’m deleting Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest off my phone as well. I also won’t be checking these sites on my desktop. No social media. Period.
My plan is to post the graphic at the top of this post on all my social media channels, letting people know why I’m not responding, and then will step fully away for the month. During this time, I plan to continue to blog and send out my newsletter, so I’m not going off the grid, just social media.
I’m interested to see how my attention shifts during the month and how this will all make me feel. Will I have the itch to check? Will I feel calmer because I don’t have to check? Will I feel out of the loop? Will I get more work done? Will I fill that time with something better or something equally as distracting? I love an experiment, so I’m looking forward to finding out!
As always, I’ll report how things went after the month is up (or maybe even along the way). And if anyone is interested in doing something similar, you can check out the details of the Digital Declutter in Digital Minimalism.
Interested in this topic?
Here’s a list of other posts I’ve done about devices and digital distractions: