The Minimalist Life Cleanse Stage 2 [Simplifying Your Online World]
In stage 1 of this series, we talked about minimalism in the home..
Focusing some energy on stripping our homes of the things which really add no value to our lives, and only bring mess and stress, you may have began to feel lighter and less weighed down by your material junk.
Maybe you discovered beautiful treasures beneath the clutter, re-lived old memories, or found special artefacts to proudly display in your newly cleansed space.
Hopefully you took the steps put forward, and will take forward an attitude of loving the things you have, instead of bringing new distractions and items into your life.
Of course it doesn't take a day to clear years of amassed bits and bobs, but you have made a start and can continue at your own pace, knowing you have done the hardest part, which is to begin!
You might now feel all the more ready to tackle stage 2 of this series...
THEME: Minimalism in your Technology.
Social media and the internet influence every aspect of modern life. We live in a world where in many western countries, the government is investing in high-speed internet; it is that much entrenched in contemporary culture, it's no longer just entertainment, its has become a right and to many, a need.
The world of new-sites and online editorial content, is steadfastly replacing print media, and now most people stay in touch with important news, blog''s of interest and other things which they enjoy exclusively via the internet. It really is at the centre of peoples everyday lives and behaviours.
...so goes the sign-of-times saying “Home is where the WIFI connects automatically”.
Many of us feel anxious when our internet doesn't work, or we go somewhere without wifi.
Temporarily disconnected, literally and mentally, you are sure that you are going to miss out on some vital piece of information, news, meme or dog video.
It's not wrong to feel this way, it just the natural result of our constant repeated use of our devices. I personally hate when the internet fails or I am out of a free wifi zone. I feel adrift and like I am going to be behind on something everybody else is in on.
Why do we feel this way?
Many of us live out our entire lives online, reporting it all in vivid colour and vibrant language, whilst others build a career based on online creativity; the internet is where some peoples whole businesses are founded and maintained.
The net (I feel like I am writing this in the late 90's or something...) has somewhat replaced television for many, with sites such as youtube and Netflix providing an array of entertainment, springing forth a new-breed of celebrities in the form of Vlogger's and Bloggers; the online world covers even more niche's than TV ever has or could.
The internet is there for all manner of weirdness, hobbies, fetishes, obsessions and escapism.
Despite most people agreeing on the usefulness of the online world, due to its potential for creating connections, fostering learning and of course building commerce, many despair at just how much we have been drawn into the inter-web.
And when you begin to look at your relationship with social media, your mobile phone and the whole world of apps and websites, you will observe the complexity of it, and often, the repetitive and dullness of your daily absorption within it.
I realized recently, whilst scrolling Instagram for maybe the 3rd time that day, that I was skipping past a lot of images. I was not really giving anything any real attention, yet I had chosen to follow these accounts at some point when the person or subject must have been vaguely interesting to me.
But this interest was clearly short-lived, and the result is me now mindlessly passing over things instead of taking a brief moment to un-follow these people, and escape from an endless conveyor-belt of thumbing over content.
So now it's time to bring back some more organization, purpose and clarity to your online life!
By the way, before you read on, this phase of the life cleanse is expanded upon, alongside the rest of the series, in a my new book, available NOW.
Our phones and tablets will soon contain more contain apps than the actual app-store.
Count how many apps you have on your phone/tablet.
Now count how many you actually use.
Delete any apps you haven't used in the last month.
Re-arrange your used apps into folders labeled for their theme. I have 'WRITE''WATCH''READ', so I use short names which are fairly self-explanatory.
Look at your most used apps again and assess if you can now delete even more apps, the ones outside the category you consider most important or worth keeping.
Maybe some of us are too polite (or lazy) to un-follow people, but really, when you look at it realistically, someone's follower count really isn't something you should be giving much worry to...
Is it really that engaging for you or beneficial for the person posting stuff, to have their offerings ignored and scrolled over all the time?
Maybe its time to cut-down on the things you give your time and attention to.
Consider cutting down on who and what you follow....
Twitter: If you still want to follow someone but are bugged by their updates, then just mute them on your feed! That way you can keep in touch with their updates in your own time.
Facebook: The same thing applies here – you can streamline your time-line without causing any offence, by simply un-following peoples status updates. No need to see everything they have to say, but you can still check in on them now and again! And as for un-friending, well, I like your style, you're thinking big.
Instagram: I am so guilty of scrolling repeatedly over the same people, and I never stopped to observe my behaviour. When I finally did I started de-cluttering my account, I un-followed lots of people and made it so I only saw the things most interesting to me!
Myspace: Go on Myspace, re-activate your account, try to remember the now-defunct email address you used for your login, spend hours trying to locate this address to no avail. But once you do get it, login, and scroll through all your college friends, check out your pictures from those house-parties, and decide on whether that friend is displaying good HTML skills. And change your automated song to something more fresh.
Obviously, we're joking on that last part... how to improve your Myspace is in next weeks post.... :P
Clear Your Inbox
This is the virtual room that you need to de-clutter. It has shelves and shelves of things you have never read, or ever will....
Yes, you took the time to set-up which incoming junk-type emails to automatically send to your 'Filtered' folder, which is the same as saying “Go here, you will remain in my inbox but I will not read you and you will remain there until the end of the time”. Tut.
Now it's time to go and actually un-subscribe to those emails never read or which you no longer want to receive. Check the very bottom of the email, you will have an option to receive no further contact. Hurrah!
Clear that spam folder, and your (now quickly filling up) deleted folder.
Look at your other saved folders – are you keeping emailed bills from 5 years ago? It should be easy to find lots of things to send into the abyss of deleted emails!!
If your online activities, or the mass of information stored in your own personal online accounts, aren't adding to your happiness, helping you, or bringing inspiration into your life, then, why are you giving them so much of your time? Time you cannot get back.
Taran has found that deleting the Facebook app off of his phone made perfect sense; he didn't want to keep finding himself on that endless scrolling spree, and so he fixed that quite easily!
You could take that drastic step, or, alternatively, follow the above steps. The more you delete, the more you will want to delete! Editing, refining and creating an online space that meets your own personal wants and needs is such a satisfying process.
You'll realize that nowhere in this post am I explicitly telling anyone to cut down on their online time; being a blogger and a blog-lover I am permanently in the internet matrix, I never leave.... I am simply offering advice to help you enhance your relationship with your online practises, and make them more fruitful and fulfilling.
And if you happen to find yourself online less, or become more inspired by your new de-cluttered inter-web space, then you've taken a positive if unintentional step towards even more minimalism and simplicity.
Thanks for reading!
Want more reads like this? You can now find Hannah in her own online space, Good Intentions. Minimalism, mindfulness, conscious living and self-love; all the good stuff centred around being kinder to yourself, and kinder to the world.