Well like most people I eased into 2021 very gingerly especially after 2020 left us scratching our heads going WTF just happened?! This year may very much be the same but without the shellshock. Been there, done that. One reality that hit me whilst reflecting on the year is how in the beginning , social media helped us during the pandemic but as the year progressed, personally I found it work against me. I was no longer enjoying it especially Facebook. It left me exhausted, feeling bad about myself, it reminded me of what I had not accomplished during the year and the hard reality of who my real friends are during this wild time. So the last week and a half I have gradually minimised my digital life.
The first step I took was deactivating my Facebook account. I didn’t delete it completely for two reasons. One, my Messenger app is linked to it so I would have lost a main communication tool with friends and family and starting from scratch would of been a nightmare. I would sooner disable text messaging if I could. Two, my family’s business Facebook page is linked to it all as well. I did however delete the TTW Facebook Page as it was serving no purpose despite amount of work I put into it. Honestly no one noticed the page was removed and no one has noticed my Facebook has been deactivated. I made no announcements. I am not here looking for pity because no one noticed, just pointing out that at the end of the day one’s life will not fall apart because they cancel Facebook. I do not miss it. I also deleted LinkedIn. It is a glorified resume to me that serves me no purpose. I have kept Instagram as I enjoy it but not using it as much. It may go at a later time but small steps first.
I was recently watching videos on YouTube showing people who have digitally minimised their online World and their lives have greatly improved as a result. I am old enough to remember what life was like before mobile and smart phones, social media and App Stores, and life was good. When Steve Jobs invented the iPhone it was for phone calls and music. Apps were not even a thought at that stage and when the suggestion was made to him, he didn’t like the idea of them. I have taken this approach to going back to what the smart phones were originally designed for. I have uninstalled easily 90% of my apps and hidden those I use every now and then such as WordPress and Canva. Apps I did delete can be accessed on my laptop when needed via the websites. Email for work and personal uses were also hidden so I am not looking at them all the time. I only need to check them in the morning and in the afternoon. If there is a work emergency, someone will call. As I write this I have only 6 apps on my phone which include Spotify, Audible, Messenger and the Woolworths grocery app on the Home screen, plus Instagram and Keep notes. I have no need to check my phone every few seconds and I certainly do not miss out on anything. I am going by the philosophy of if it’s important news (or juicy gossip!) someone will tell me.
In the very short time I have started this digital minimalist journey I have found myself more self aware with a clear mind. It has been a bit of a slower lifestyle not having to rush to get information at every second of the day. I have set goals I wish to achieve this year and realistic ones too involving health and finances. Travelling overseas to new places is off the cards but a quick trip to Disneyland, if permitted, can certainly be achieved. I have been there that many times I could visit for a couple of days from Sydney, easy. Flying from Sydney to Los Angeles is like driving down to Melbourne, it is second nature! I am prepared for another lockdown if it happens and I know what to expect this time around. I know if we do lockdown especially with the UK mutant strain having hit our shores, I won’t spend time having a pity party and will utilise the time. Last year toughened me up. The year 2020 was weirdly a blessing in disguise for me. It was also the reality check I didn’t know I needed. Not everyone would agree with that statement.
As I move forward I will focus more on my website and being a blogger in my spare time. I am trying to find some new interests and meet new people in the real world. I am toying with the idea of starting a podcast and am looking at activities that see me actually leaving my home.
I am considering getting rid of my Google Home too as I only use it for playing music and Audible. The sound quality on phones today are really good and I can always just get a Bluetooth speaker if needed and it won’t talk talk back to me. Hell I may go one step further and get an old school alarm clock and timer and forget using the phones built in devices. It isn’t going to hurt me. As I set the goal for a more slower and intentional life for 2021 and beyond, it can only help not hinder me.