Digital Minimalism: Fighting the Tyranny of Screens (Newport )

Here’s a helpful resource on productivity and taking control of screen time: Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport. This book was super helpful for me last year when I was trying to really scale down my use of screens – specifically my iPhone. After reading this book and How to Break up with Your Phone, I did end up getting rid of my iPhone. Now I have a flip phone and, as I may have mentioned before, my brain is still thanking me! Anyway, here are Newport’s “Principles of Digital Minimalism”:

Principle #1: Clutter is Costly. Digital minimalists recognize that cluttering their time and attention with too many devices, apps, and services creates an overall negative cost that can swamp the small benefits that each individual item produces in isolation.

Principle #2: Optimization is Important. Digital minimalists believe that deciding a particular technology supports something they value is only the first step. To truly extract its full potential benefit, it’s necessary to think carefully about how they’ll use the technology.

Principle #3: Intentionality is Satisfying. Digital minimalists derive significant satisfaction from their general commitment to being more intentional about how they engage with new technologies. This source of satisfaction is independent of the specific decisions they make and is one of the biggest reasons that minimalism tends to be immensely meaningful to its practitioners.

I appreciate Digital Minimalism because it is level-headed in its practical advice on how to implement a digital minimalistic lifestyle. Newport doesn’t say we all need to get rid of our phones and laptops. But he does make good points about thinking more deeply about how we use these things. And Newport offers some good advice for moving from being a maximal digital consumer to a more minimal one. Although it’s not a Christian book, it is a very helpful common grace resource that will help us think about redeeming the time.

Cal Newport, Digital Minmalism, p. 35-36.

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015

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