First steps to digital minimalism

Dear community, I am preparing a brand new webinar on digital minimalism and neuroscience of digital distractions for my subscribers (happening on the 11st August, feel free to join, too), and I’d love to hear about your digital well-being and productivity life hacks.
How you downsize technology in your life without completely getting rid of it?
What have you tried? What works? What doesn’t?
(for me, for instance, blocking apps only do that much, I don’t rely on them fully, much better just to build up awareness and healthy routine)


There are many more comprehensive strategies out there, but let me toss out a principle I feel has made a small-but-noticeable difference.

Detach from your phone by making it a less visually interesting object. A few ideas:

  1. Make your phone background a solid black image – I noticed that with a picture background, there was less friction for me to pull out my phone and check for notifications. Can’t hurt to just check, because even if there isn’t anything new, I still get to see a picture of my kids, right? Except that “can’t hurt to check” usually turns into unlocking and opening apps, and before you know it you’re knee-deep in a newsfeed somewhere.

  2. Simplify your phone case – We tend to see our phones as fashion objects. Don’t make your phone the focus of your outfit. Instead, give it a simple case.

  3. Get a matte screen protector – I’ve had one for years. There is a subtle psychology to a glossy, reflective screen: we react positively to seeing our own face. Even if the screen is on, you still catch a glimpse of yourself in the dark spots – a literal black mirror. Getting a matte screen protector flattens the psychological experience of using your phone. Plus, it reduces the glare on your eyes!

The point is, your phone is a tool, and these are a few ideas to help your subconscious to think of it as one.


It helps to do a full personal audit and break everything down into 2 categories: hardware & software.

When I started getting serious about detoxing & simplifying, I needed the one-two punch of getting off software platforms (twitter, FB, insta, etc.) and ditching some devices (including my smartphone!)

Hi Anded: I’m preparing a list of ideas and common behaviour patterns and the potential shortcomings of the “over - reliance” over a smartphone. I shall publish this here by end of day. I’m currently preparing the doc.

Below are quick points @anded.

  1. People have stopped to think and act on their own giving away the work entirely to a smart phone. Example : Google Maps. Current generation may be stuck in the middle of the travel/journey had their phone battery is to get over. The previous generation people - era had some memory of their route and also they were eager to ask a fellow person for the route to travel.

Shortcomings : No work given for Human Memory system, No conversation with fellow people to ask for the route.

  1. Ordering food online - A global addiction for the Millenials. While it is very appealing to see foods online - which are already been added flavors using photoshop - modern people have become very very lazy to cook by themselves or even walk to the nearest restaurant to have good.

Shortcomings : No physical activity, Urge to get the food quickly (Added features of certain apps show us the live route of the food getting arrived which will only increase the anxiety quotient of a human being) . Very importantly they have lost an opportunity to meet and interact with people together for a dinner. They going to have all alone in their bed room + watching an youtube video which olnly adds fuel to the flame.

You can follow me at @gopuzun25 in twitter/ FB at gopala.iyar

I would also love to see your webminar live. or later. Im from India.

They also hid themselves from the progress


Hey… let’s not knock the Amish here while underscoring the depressive and loneliness woes of social media. There’s a lot of ideas about social engagement and commitment that they arguably get right, IMO. :slight_smile:

Сan someone clearly say why it happens, What is the connection between depressive, loneliness and social media.
Maybe to much ‘advertising’ of ‘American dream’?

Since losing my smartphone I have bought myself a Nokia 3310 and now, with all the cognitive and attentional bandwidth I’ve freed up, can’t see myself going back. As much as I told myself I wasn’t, I was addicted to that thing.

I know this is not a viable solution to everyone but I would recommend having a ‘dumbphone’ and having days off from the pull of the smartphone (perhaps weekends? whatever works). This would also give them the opportunity to be mindful of when the desire to look at their phone crops up and witness the neurological conditioning the device has wrought upon them.

As for social media, there are lots of recommendations for apps on CHT’s website but StayFocusd has really helped me to curb my social media screentime and notice when my mind is craving the endless scrolling of the news feed. There are apps that do this for the Smartphone (notably ‘Freedom’).