How To Adopt A Practice Of Digital Minimalism

Digital Minimalism is a philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time on a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support things you value, and then happily miss out on everything else.

Cal Newport

It’s time to start focusing our attention on the practice of Digital Minimalism.

The problem is that as I write this post, I’ll admit that I am failing at the digital minimalism philosophy. I’m embarrassed to say that currently I have:

  • 27 tabs open on 5 different browser windows
  • The Evernote app up
  • The messages app up on my computer
  • Outlook up
  • My phone is next to me
  • My digital notepad is next to me


I don’t do this by conscious choice, the technology just builds up around me over time. 

That’s when I have to reset and rethink my relationship with the tech I use. 

To do this, I use digital minimalism to help me practice being intentional about my technology and digital media habits in order to reduce distractions, increase focus, and improve my overall well-being. 

Here are some tips on how you can adopt the habit of digital minimalism:

  1. Define your values and priorities: I’ve always felt that technology was there to help me be better connected, more productive, and more relaxed but it often does the opposite. Take some time to reflect on what matters most to you and how you want to spend your time. Consider the role that technology plays in your life and what you want to get out of it.
  2. Identify the digital tools and services that add value: Determine which digital tools and services are truly necessary and beneficial to your life, and which ones are simply distractions or time-wasters. For example, I use workflowy to categorize and catalog all my open tabs. The biggest reason I keep the tabs open is to easily reference them later, which is stupid because I can never find them later! Workflowy solves that problem for me.
  3. Set boundaries and limits: Establish specific times of the day when you use digital devices, and limit your usage during those times. Consider setting limits on the amount of time you spend on certain apps or websites. I set a timer for the social media platforms on my phone to remind me when I’ve been on for longer than a few minutes, otherwise, I scroll forever. 
  4. Remove unnecessary notifications: Pings from endless notifications kill your ability to accomplish deep work. Turn off notifications for apps that are not essential and only keep notifications for those that are important to your daily life.
  5. Take breaks from technology: Schedule time each day to disconnect from technology and focus on other activities like reading a book, exercising, or spending time with friends and family. This year I’m trying to (gasp) turn off my phone at certain times during the day to have uninterrupted time for deep work. 
  6. Experiment with different strategies: Digital minimalism is a personal journey, so experiment with different strategies and find what works best for you. It may take time to find the right balance, but the benefits of a more intentional digital life are worth the effort.

Digital minimalism is not about completely eliminating technology from your life, but rather being intentional about how you use it. By adopting this habit, you can reduce stress and increase your overall well-being.

What steps are you taking to achieve digital minimalism in your life? 

Photo Credit: Clay Banks

Like what you read here? Join my newsletter below to receive weekly tips just like this, designed to help creatives like you navigate the most important decisions in your life and career.  

Published by

Nate Zeisler is the Dean for Community Initiatives at the Colburn School in Los Angeles. He envisions a world where students majoring in the arts have a clear path to a sustainable career, where creative minds are empowered and inspired to rule the workforce, and where access to the arts is not just for the privileged few, but for all.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: