Guest Author: Adriane Aguilera
Digital Minimalism is a philosophy of intentional technology use created by Cal Newport, a Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown—a practice in which a digital user operates tech only for what they need.
Digital Minimalism is practiced in two primary ways: intentional use and digital decluttering. A Digital Minimalist does away with mindless scrolling, social media checking, and video streaming that could result from routine email checking. Digital decluttering is the practice of deleting unnecessary files and apps from a device, as well as organizing necessary files to optimize accessibility.
While Digital Minimalism is often recognized for its positive impact on mental health in the digital age, the conversation doesn’t focus much on money—but spending less time behind a cluttered screen can be as good for your wallet as your mind.
SoLo Funds readers will know how easy it is to save money by implementing simple habits. Want to save even more? Check below for four simple tips.
Unlike their tech-dependent counterparts, a Digital Minimalist would have an easy time dodging tailored ads. They would spend less time mindlessly online shopping, which would leave advertisers without very much data to work with, making the ads less effective.
The average employee spends 1.8 hours per workday combing through information. While some of that time cannot be helped, some could be easily catalyzed with digital decluttering. Whether you work for a Fortune 500 company or are self-employed, time spent searching for the right file is time wasted, and time wasted is money lost.
You should assess all of the files on all of your devices, filing by practical importance and sentimental value. Permanently delete files and apps that are never used and have little sentimental value.
Next, back up files with sentimental value (family photos, portfolio projects, etc.) to an external storage device and delete them from primary storage. Lastly, organize the remaining folders that are used daily: the more consistently used, the easier the file should be to access at a moment’s notice.
Streaming services, smartphone payments, music streaming subscriptions: everything digital seems to come with an up-front price tag and a monthly subscription. The nice thing about “Old Tech”—home phones, letter writing, books—is that the payment methods are largely one-and-done.
As serious Digital Minimalists begin to phase out unnecessary devices, they’ll find that returning to the oldies is a great way to save. Sending a letter only costs the price of a stamp, landline phones save precious minutes for emergency mobile calls, and paperback books require no monthly streaming fee.
During work hours, it’s easy to treat a job well done with a little cell phone time. While checking in is normal, it can quickly become time-consuming: the average American employee spends 56 minutes on their phone per workday.
Digital Minimalists can make more money on and off the clock. Less hindered by digital distractions, a Digital Minimalist will be more productive than ordinary tech users. A more productive employee will be more likely to land raises, bonuses, and earn more commissions. Business owners will gain, on average, five hours of additional work time per week by not checking their cells.
Off the clock, a Digital Minimalist will have more time in their day—whether that time is spent relaxing, practicing a hobby, or working on a money-making “side hustle.” By freeing themselves from distractions, Digital Minimalists make time.
Hopefully, these tips will help you keep a little more money in your pocket each day. With patience and practice, unplugging from the digital world might also bring some much-needed peace of mind, plus maybe an hour or two of free time. Good luck!
Adriane Aguilera is a freelance writer specializing in tech and business. She’s a tech enthusiast that loves breaking down highly technical concepts into interpretable content. You can connect with Adriane on Twitter @AdriAdrift.