How Digital Minimalism Can Help You Better Invest Your Most Important Asset
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our everyday lives in so many different ways. From working from home to wearing masks to celebrating birthday parties and baby showers on Zoom, we’ve adapted to the challenging hand we’ve been dealt.
While some of the changes have been positive—like spending more quality time with members of your household or getting to those projects it once seemed would sit on your to-do lists forever—others have had a more negative impact.
Since the COVID crisis began, many Americans are spending a whole lot more time engaged with their technology. And we’ve given ourselves permission to do so.
According to a recent eMarketer survey, 14% fewer Americans think smartphone addiction is a problem than they did just two years ago. That’s a significant shift.
For many of us, our phones are the first thing we look at when we wake up in the morning. We seek them out the minute we have a free moment. They find their way into our hands even when we’re spending quality time with family and friends.
How we engage with our smartphones and allow them to suck us into unproductive (and sometimes unhealthy) pursuits is responsible for hours of lost time on a weekly or even daily basis. They are too often black holes—eating away at our precious minutes without always providing a lot of value in return.
“Simply put, humans are not wired to be constantly wired.”
One of the books our team at Wealth Impact has read recently that’s challenged us in a positive way is Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport. If you ever feel like your technology is taking over your life—and not necessarily in a good way—then this is a book you should consider reading.
The title of the book describes a new philosophy on technology use where you focus a small amount of online time on a few activities that support the things you value and let all the other time-wasting stuff disappear. As Newport explains in the book:
“Digital minimalism definitively does not reject the innovations of the internet age, but instead rejects the way so many people currently engage with these tools.”
Using real-life examples, the author shows how “digital minimalists” are taking this new approach toward their relationship with technology—and provides strategies for integrating these practices in your daily life.
You may be thinking, I can’t imagine not having my phone time every day. But when you reflect on the things you value most in life, your phone probably doesn’t crack the top fifty. Yet all those minutes spent staring at your smartphone screen tell a different story. When you crunch the numbers on the percentage of your time you’re handing over to technology, it might not be the best investment.
“The cost of a thing is the amount of ‘life’ that is required to be exchanged for it—immediately or in the long run.”
At Wealth Impact, one of the talks we regularly do is called “Enhancing the Wealth of Your Life”. In that talk, we discuss how wealth is so much more than just money. It’s our time, relationships, and the areas where we wield influence and leadership.
Most of us have heard the saying “time, talent and treasure”. This is often used to describe the different ways people can give back or serve the greater good. But what do those words really mean?
Treasure – To many people, treasure is money. But treasure is also your values. It’s the people we care about most. It’s our relationships and our community. For some of us, it’s our church, family, and faith.
Talent – Talent is kind of a vague word. In the Bible, the word talent refers to money too. But talent is also what you’re gifted at. It’s your experience, knowledge and the unique opportunities you have to lead or influence people.
Time – We think of time as an isolated item on the list. But if we really reflect on this bigger definition of wealth and these more robust ideas of talent and treasure, time is actually a huge connector of talent and treasure. Time is what enables us to build our values and gifts and share them with the world.
Much of the time we spend with our technology today is time we could be using to focus on our treasures and talents. It’s time we could be using to grow and nourish the relationships we care most about or make an impact in our community. It’s time we could be using to enhance the wealth of our lives.
“Digital minimalists see new technologies as tools to be used to support things they deeply value—not as sources of value themselves.”
Your time on this earth is limited, so how can you use it most wisely, impactfully, and judiciously as a good steward to the things in this world that mean so much more to you than money?
While technology has brought some truly amazing capabilities into our lives, it isn’t the most important thing in our lives. So why should we invest our time in it at a level that suggests otherwise? Rather we should remember the things that are most important and use technology as a tool to help us focus on them.
Have you read Digital Minimalism? What strategies did you learn from the book that you’ve applied to your everyday life? Share your thoughts and takeaways with us on the Wealth Impact Facebook page.
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