It’s pretty crazy when you start to evaluate how often you use your phone and how often picking up your phone for one thing automatically leads to opening up a social media app. The trip down the rabbit hole begins.
What if we started paying more attention to how we use our phones, how we feel, and what that means for other areas of our lives? This is where digital minimalism comes in.
The first step of this journey is to understand what solitude truly means so that you can declutter your digital life in a way that supports experiencing this more. This works whether you have kids, are married, work for yourself or someone else, etc. Anyone can do this, it’s just going to look unique to you.
1. Understanding solitude and how much you are currently getting.
Solitude is the state or situation of being alone. It’s when we have no outside influences on our thoughts. When I first started thinking about solitude, I quickly realized how little I experienced on a day to day basis. In fact, I was scared of solitude.
But then I learned about solitude deprivation:
“A state in which you spend close to zero time alone with your own thoughts and free from input from other minds.”
I 100% connected with this and decided I needed more solutide. Now instead of getting uncomfortable when I slow down or am bored (think standing in line at the grocery store, waiting at an appointment, etc.). I embrace it as quiet time for my brain.
2. Leave your phone at home (sometimes).
A great way to disconnect from your phone and get more little moments of solitude is my leaving your phone at home OR making it harder to constantly check.
For example, last night I went to the movies with my husband and left my phone at home. He left his in the car. This way we had a phone for emergencies, but weren’t distracted when standing in line, waiting for the movie, etc. We talked more in the car and I even had a few moments to myself when he went to he bathroom before the movie started. Sounds small but these moments add up to quiet time for your brain and have greatly reduce my anxiety and constant need to check my phone.
Another way is if I take my dogs for a long walk/hike. Obviously I’m going to bring my phone for emergencies if I’m alone. I imagine when I have kids I will also need my phone on hand when I’m away from them. Instead of ditching your phone all together or feeling like you can’t participate in this step, keep your phone but put it somewhere you cannot constantly check it. I put mine at the button of a bag and put it on vibrate or do not disturb. I have emergency contacts set for my husband and family so that if they call me, it goes through.
This way you are only interrupted when absolutely necessary and can experience some true solitude. This is when I get my best ideas and the most clarity on my life. I highly recommend long walks without easy access to your phone!
3. Declutter the apps on your phone and allow your digital life to enhance the rest of your life.
Taking a look at the apps you use, don’t use, and how you use them is key for cleaning up your digital and mental space.
I like to do a sweep of the apps on my phone, how they are organized, and if I actually use them once a month. It’s crazy how many apps I end up downloading for one time use and then they just sit on my phone.
It’s not just about deleting apps you don’t use though. It’s about simplifying and getting the most out of your apps. You want to first go through your apps that are present and evaluate if you use them. Then you want to look at the apps and decide if this is the best way to solve that problem for you.
For example, I was going through my phone and deleting apps I don’t regularly use. I came across my Amazon app and initially kept it. I use Amazon all of the time, why would I delete it? Then I thought about using it on my phone. Do I really want to be using my phone to shop on Amazon or would I prefer to keep that activity on my lap top?
For me, since I work from my phone and am on social media lot, I decided I wanted to keep that for my computer. I don’t want to me tempted to go on my phone to purchase something from Amazon. While it makes it easy, it also makes it easy to purchase without more thought and then puts me on my phone where I will most definitely open social media and end up distracted longer than I wanted.
I hope these 3 steps help! Please let me know if you try any of these. I’d love to hear how they impact you!
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