On Digital Minimalism

Lately I’ve been struggling to reconcile my online development world with my knowledge of how the tech world impacts our brains in a negative way. I can really sense when I’m deeply engrossed in computer work for a number of days in a row that I have a much harder time focusing on conversations and my kids. And as much as I enjoy playing with computers and creating things for them, I still love the analog world.

Cal Newport discussed this same dissonance in his own life on his blog a while back. I have to say that it helped me see a way to be ok with embracing both.


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After coming back from my vacation today, I quickly realized the same happens to me. After five days off, my brain was free to think, but also to engage with the people around me. It’s quite amazing the negative effect technology can have on you if you’re not careful to disconnect (which I haven’t been very good about doing until recently).

Interestingly enough, my wife and I were having a conversation in the car about how browsing social media nearly immediately takes away any drive either of us have. It literally feels like it sucks the life out of both of us. I don’t think either of us will go to the extent of deleting our accounts (though I’ve waffled on this for years – I’ve been known to deactivate my Facebook account on numerous occasions, and have deleted all my social media profiles at one time). I do think we will spend less time with this world. There’s just too much noise to be productive and helpful.

I’ve been finding I like sites like the Productivity Guild or the photo sharing in Apple Photos. They become my own little personal social networks where I can connect with real people I know or want to get to know, and maybe have a chance at developing real relationships.

This is something I’m all too aware of. I love focusing in real, in-person, human interaction over relationships online. But I also know that it’s hard to find people (especially people close by geographically) who can relate to my struggles with getting work done in a tech-heavy and development world. Thus, the Guild as we know it today.

I struggled to find a group of people or online community where I could freely discuss these concepts and ideas without spending large subscription fees to participate. But I also realize that this is sub-par to being in the same room with each other. Maybe we’ll do a ProdGuild conference someday! :blush:

The flip side is that I know the discussions we have here on the Guild have been extremely helpful and I feel like I’ve been able to truly connect with some of you here. Which is a major reason I continue to invest in it. It’s also why I plan to make the development of the Guild one of my Theoretical Accountability goals for the next season. :tada:

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Social media = digital crack of the 2010’s…

Oftentimes, I have to just put away my phone and iPad intentionally and just enjoy real life for a change. Sadly, I walk around and see people’s faces string down at their phone and bumping into people on the sidewalk. I see entire groups all gazing at their phone despite being seated at the same table.

But on the other hand, it is awesome to be able to connect to others. I live on an island far away. With time zone differences, it makes it difficult to interact with others. So it is great to be able to connect.

But I guess it’s a matter of finding balance between the folks I connect with digital as well as the people in my daily life…