In Search of Digital Simplicity

You know….my pursuit of eliminating unused and unnecessary physical “stuff” has me thinking about “digital simplicity”.  I’ve been pondering the effects of cleaning up digital spaces as well as eliminating screen time.

Could cleaning up digital spaces have a similar effect on stress levels as cleaning out closets?  E-mails and files may not necessarily spark joy, although the KonMari method allows for a utilitarian defense for keeping some items (think tools).

After rummaging through CDs and DVDs, I decided to go through all my music and playlists on iTunes.  It felt refreshing to do that; to remove songs that I no longer enjoy, or that don’t really represent anything important to me.  (Plus, next time I shuffle my iPod during a workout, I won’t have to skip over 30 Christmas songs).  So I suspect that cleaning out old files on the computer could have a similar effect.

But I also think that the magic of “digital” can mean throwing away physical stuff, but scanning and keeping it in digital form (here’s looking at you, yearbooks).  So maybe a computer “cluttered” with old things doesn’t need to be purged.  Who knows!!  In any case, I’m considering tackling this sort of project as well.

I can’t talk about digital simplicity without discussing the other part of digital living: screen time.  I don’t know about you, but sometimes I could just scream when I look around the room and all the people I’m physically with are glued to their smart

smart phones
This is a for real Instagram photo I posted on Thanksgiving Day 2014.  Faces hidden to protect the perpetrators whom I did not feel like asking for permission to post their mugs.

phones. And I’m one of the guiltiest! I love having information at my fingertips; my brain hardly ever stops long enough NOT to google “what to do with old yearbooks” or “why is my dog eating grass like a starving maniac”.

But you know what? I truly hate what it’s done to me. I honestly think I have WAY less of an attention span than I used to. I have a harder time listening to others. Now, it’s almost mindless and automatic when there’s a lull in activity to pick up my phone and scroll through Facebook or Pinterest. It’s a sad state indeed.

I read an article just this week that suggested deleting Facebook off your phone entirely. That will not take care of my Pinterest problems (nothing I’m willing to do will), but man, I am seriously considering it. It’s so easy to send (and get) party invites, share things like blog posts, pictures, etc RIGHT FROM MY PHONE, ANYWHERE, ON THE GO!!! But I suppose there’s no reason I can’t intentionally go do that from my laptop, right?! Aaahhhh, intentionality and mindfulness.  Less time on phone = more time for people I love and hobbies that are truly edifying.

Then there’s TV.  Husband and I cancelled cable many months ago, and now subsist on a steady diet of Netflix and Hulu.  Between Chromecast and Roku, we can kind of watch whatever we want to wherever we want to.  There are still a few shows that I regularly tune into, but it’s much more intentional now.  I never have the TV on in the background anymore, which also means that I’m WAY less likely to stop being productive and just watch TV until I feel guilty for not being productive.

That being said, I still think I watch too much.  Especially if we find a new series on Netflix and we can just binge watch the whole thing.  (Hello, Making a Murderer and most recently, Parenthood!)  Also, if I’m being completely honest, TV is soothing to me for some reason. It’s like emotional eating.  Except it’s emotional…watching.  (I’m having an uncomfortable self-realization moment right now.)

I am very clearly a work in progress with all this.  But cleaning out physical stuff just makes you start thinking deeper.  It makes me want to be intentional and mindful way

practice simplicity and mindfulness
Photo taken in St. John, USVI

more often than I am.  I believe that practicing simplicity and mindfulness in one area of life can and will lead you to do the same in other areas.  It will trickle down.  I want to spend less time cleaning my things and more time writing or painting.  I want to spend less time Facebooking and more time cooking meals for dinner parties.  I want to spend less time worrying and more time living!!  I think that’s what Jesus worry less live morewants for me, too. Worry means I am not trusting Him. And at the end of the day, I want to hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!” Not, “Well, you missed a lot of opportunities because you were too worried about things and focused on your smart phone, but you can still come to the Heaven party.”

Until next time…

S

 

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