Take The Hip Diggs’ Minimal Digital Challenge

Minimalists often focus on reducing physical possessions. What about digital devices? Should we live minimal digital? Think of how much stuff we can stuff into our devices. We can download 500 CDs into a microchip. We can keep an entire library of books on a hard drive. We can load our computers, smartphones, and tablets with so many apps and games it will make your head spin. 

telephone-586268_1280 Minimal Digital: Photo of man on smartphone.

Less Stuff, Less Digital

If simple living is living with less stuff and learning to be less distracted, then we need to consider living minimal digital. Digital devices are distracting us from more healthy habits. Be honest with yourself. Have your digital devices and the Internet kept you from doing any of these activities less often?

If you answered yes to any of the above, minimal digital may be for you. What is minimal digital? It’s my challenge to you. 

Like you, I’ve struggled with too much screen time. At times, it’s disrupted my personal life, my work, and my sleep patterns. I’ve tried a variety of methods to rely less on digital devices. I still struggle, but I’ve found a few things that have worked well for me. I challenge you to try a few of these methods to rely on your digital devices less.

The Hip Diggs’ Minimal Digital Challenge

  1. Limit the number of devices you own: How many devices do you really need? I know several people who have two or three computers, several tablets, ebooks, and smartphones. They buy new devices like they change their underwear. I own a MacBook Air, an iPad Mini, and an iPhone. I rarely use the iPad for anything other than GarageBand and music production.
  2. Limit the number of apps you use: I only have two or three apps on my smartphone. I have about a dozen apps on my iPad, but most of them are games for my daughter or creative music apps. I know people that have hundreds of apps. That’s a form of clutter. The same goes for having too many games.
  3. Limit the number of files you store: If your devices are always running out of space, maybe you’re stuffing them too full. What makes an overfilled device any different than an overfilled drawer or closet? It’s still a form of holding onto excess junk. I’ve never run out of space on any of my devices. Why? Because I download as little as possible and I keep my files minimal.

I go through my photos and written files regularly. I get rid of most anything that I’ve already changed into another format. The only thing I keep in the long run are: my best photos, full-length books, and my own musical recordings. I don’t store popular music or films. That stuff would just further distract me from more important things in life. Besides, we can stream almost anything. 

You can also try some of the following strategies for going minimal digital on the Internet: 

  • Keep the Internet out of your bedroom
  • Set daily Internet hours
  • Take social media vacations
  • Take Internet vacations

More Ideas For Going Minimal Digital

I’ve had an on-again/off-again affair with digital devices for the past 15 years. I didn’t give into owning a computer at home until 2008, and even then I often went without Internet. I didn’t get a smartphone until 2011. I didn’t get a laptop until I started blogging in 2012. I’ve taken Internet vacations the last two summers. I actually had my Internet service turned off all summer long. Here’s what I’ve discovered:

Why Go Minimal Digital?

Going minimal digital has helped me to accomplish more. I’ve been able to make better use of my energy. I’ve spent more time with family. I’ve spent more time in nature. I’ve spent more time exercising. I’ve written several books. I’ve written and recorded dozens of songs. I’ve spent countless hours gardening and working on home improvement projects. Going minimal digital helps you become more productive. It really works.

Will you take this challenge to go minimal digital? I encourage you to give it a try. I think you’ll discover that you’ll get much more accomplished.

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6 Comments

  1. On what device do you do most of your reading? You said you use your iPad Mini mostly for music, but I thought it excelled as an e-reader as well.

    When you say you only have two or three apps on your iPhone, are you not counting the dozen or so apps that come with the phone? If you are counting them, how are you able to delete them? I cannot delete mine.

    Thank you.

    1. Hey Scott, great questions. Thanks!

      1. I did have a Nook as an eReader but found I still prefer real paper books. I gave the Nook to my daughter. I tend to trade books, so I only keep a small selection of books at home at any given time.

      2. My iPhone also does not allow me to get rid of most of the apps that came with it. I wish it did. I get rid of 90% of them. So no, I didn’t count those because they are out of my control.

  2. I scaled back significantly about a year and a half ago. Now I put my phone away and computer right about now to be done for the night. Good advice and you make an excellent point; just because you can’t see everything that a computer or phone holds doesn’t mean it’s not there!

    1. Yeah, I scaled back on my online time over the past couple years, too, Floyd. Makes more time for exercise and family.

    1. I was just in Best Buy yesterday. Somehow external hard drives have increased from 1 terabyte to 5 and up in the last few years. Why does anybody need that much storage? Are they storing hundreds of movies and thousands of songs? It’s excessive.

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