Deep Work, Productivity, Digital Minimalism, Solitude Part One
Hi guys, I wanted to share you about my journey quiting social media since last week (It was January 2022 when I wrote this post) and the benefit I’ve got and the experience I’ve been felt along the process. It’s for about two weeks ago I bought a book titled Digital Minimalism which was written by Cal Newport, he is the author of the best seller books : The Deep Work and So Good They Can’t Ignore You. I am amazed on how he passionate to make us rethinking and refining our productivity and the use of digital technologies. On Digital Minimalism he explain how to properly use technologies or digital tools that really support our values in our life. The notion of carefully choosing technologies which only support our important values is really make me feel quite understand why lots of people right now are suffering anxiety due to carelessly using digital technology especially social media. It is the same with some notions that he conveyed in his previous book The Deep Work that using social media without intention will degrade your quality and skill to intensively focus on hard things.
There are two parts in this book, the first part is the fundamental and underlying concept of Digital Minimalism and the latter part is about practical guide on how to get through the digital declutter. Before I begin to explain some ideas that I’ve got from this book, I need you to answer this questions:
1. Do you have values in your life?
2. How many apps that really support those values on your smartphone?
3. Then, if you are rigorously thinking about the benefits vs the setbacks of these apps regarding to the support provided to your values, answer this questions: Do these technologies have direct impact to your values? or do you just mention the total benefit that actually if you are rethinking again, it doesn’t really support your core values, I could say in another words it’s drawbacks outweight the benefits in regard of supporting values.
4. Do you want to get rid any of anxiety, less social in your life?
If most of the answers YES then this book is for you. So I begin with why social media is so addictive. The answer that I got from Cal’s interview on one of former engineer at Facebook is that these big companies a.k.a Facebook, Twitter etc. hire the attention engineer to make social media more addictive than before. Originally the idea of bringing people more connected turns to be the technology that control our lives. Why do they hire attention engineer to make these products more addictive? The answer is simple : this is how big tech companies earn their revenues. The more you spend your time and attention into these platform, the more advertisement you’ll see the more money is going to these giants. We become degraded on both in social life and profesional life. Reading paper with intense focus became harder, understanding math equations and symbols become harder, and intensively concentrating on difficult taks become rare.
It is a serious issue and the gen-Z like us, who born in 99s, suffer social media anxiety and difficulty concentrating on hard things when we were teenage hence we can’t be productive as well as when we were on junior highschool. I’ve ever experience that and this book really help me to fix my problems. There are a lot of researches that Cal mentions on this book. Just buy it and read it. In this post I wanted to share about Digital Declutter : The process that makes you to become digital minimalist, however I think I’ll end this post and save the rest to the next Part.
The digital declutter is the process which take at least thirty day, away from what so called optional digital technologies, then reintroduce those digital tools again but with thoughtful and carefully evaluate these technology with regard how much these will support values in your life. The latter process are more likely drawing from scratch on a blank paper and carefully thinking : “Do this digital tool really support one of my values?”.
So let’s talk about what I mean values in this discussion. The values I meant are the something that is essentially important or all the thing that you really care about in your life: it could be “ stay connected to family”, “maintaining social life”, “being productive at work” or else.
You might argue that social media has all benefit to support those values. However, if you are really think about these and compare the benefit with it’s drawbacks, you’ll end up to come across that it is only small fraction of huge advantages you’ll get when using social media to realize your values compared to the alternative actions that we usually do without social media. Let me explain by using second and third example :
“maintaining my social life” means that you stay connected with your friends and someone you care. they are the ones who fullfil our need as human to socialize. But the social media itself have been reengineered to become addictive and have made what real values become vague due to some reason.
Social media makes something special or need sacrifice become easier. That makes lightweight connection become strong. In the long term it might be replacing our feeling and how we feel about social life. For instance, if you press like button over my photos it’s mean you care about me, you want to give a little bit attention to me, I am happy. That’s the story. It’s might be good for us but it’s not for teenager. Since it will make them suffer if they have a lot of friend on their account but no one give any attention to her. She replace the social life into her social media apps. This is sad. Maybe you feel that too. If it does then I think you need to get away from social media and try digital minimalism. Feeling anxious is something that we don’t want to feel. That’s sad. However, what if you replace the time you spend on social media to meet your friend and do sacrifice to them. Make an appointment, Bring some food, hang out together, spend your time with your friend. That is more stronger connection. That actually is. Then do social media is the right tool to do that? Personally I don’t think that social media will provide same value or sacrifice as that action. Simple.
The second example is being productive at work. It is explained in the book Deep Work that using social media will only wasting your time to your work. Remember the rule 20/80, Cal said that it comes up often in mathematics and real life. This tells you about 20% of action will cause 80% of result. If you spend a portion of 20% of your action to scroll over social media, then 80% will not be a portion of your valued works. Another reason is from the definition of Deep Work itself. The Deep work is the type of work which is free of distraction for long period of time and for cognitively demanding tasks. Earlier I’ve said that social media additive. It will categorized as distraction. You avoid that is the right way to the state of free distraction. Then you can achieve deep work exercise easily. The Deep Work is the powerful idea to bring off your work. Carrying off the tasks that lefts. It is powerful enough to finish my undergraduate thesis and solve problems on work.
This is the end of part one.