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Localization manager/translator and coach/intercultural consultant living in Berlin (Germany), passionate about diversity management and intercultural communication, self-awareness and coaching, SFBT and NVC, languages, cultures, body art, dancing, self-empowerment, and, last but not least, vegan gluten-free keto food and good movies. How about you?
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I'm the only person responsible for its content and the views and opinions expressed here are solely mines.
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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Why decluttering one's life, one day at the time, could be the most important thing you will ever do - Part 1. Digital minimalism

For some people, digital minimalism is related to a big digital detox once in a while after a stressful period or extra hours spent working hard on an important project, or it comes with checking the e-mails twice a day or on specific time slots planned in advance on a regular basis.
Famous bloggers and some established entrepreneurs are all about pulling the plug and spending as much time as possible offline.
I consider it like a daily practice that influences and shapes every decision I take.

[Are you about quality or about quantity?
Embracing variety or making a selection?
Image credit: ISO Republic]

However, everyone should decide what works for them and adjust, adapt and rethink the whole process over time according to their needs and to their situation because what could make sense for you today could not be doable or interesting any longer six months from now.

What are you doing something for? How should your days look like, in order for you to achieve your goals and to live in a way that makes you happy and fulfill you?

Minimalism is not about sacrifices, deprivation, and punishment.
And digital minimalism is not about FOMO, LOMO or other fancy acronyms.

It is also not about money or buying stuff, or at least not literally. Time is your currency here: time invested while surfing online, interacting on social media, posting pictures, reading news, and blogs, writing e-mails, watching videos and so on.

The Internet is a great invention and it offers so many possibilities that the list of the ways the Internet can improve our lives is virtually endless. Unfortunately, the list of ways we can get stuck or distracted or mislead because of the net is endless as well, which is very dangerous.
Why? Because our time, on the contrary, is finite.

Since there are only 24 hours in each of our days, saying yes to something implies saying no to something else.
Digital minimalism is then about learning how to say yes, and how to say no. When. To whom. Why. And above all, what for.

[Focusing is about saying no.
And about paying attention to things, people and situations 
you are committed to,
instead of thinking about what you are missing out on right now]

If we apply this very simple concept to our digital life, we can all agree that watching a funny cat video after the other or checking Facebook ten times a day costs us time that we are not going to have available for other things. And if you are OK with it, it is totally fine.
In my humble opinion, you should just do it on purpose, while making a decision about your time and how you are using it, instead of being puzzled and surprised at the end of the day because you didn't manage to do what you wanted and yet somehow the time has gone so fast, again.

Knowing what matters to you and what you want to have in your life, in the long run, is pivotal and will help you to understand when you should go all in about something and when you should save your time for another activity, that can take place online or offline.
(In my case, it can be for example playing with my cat instead of watching cat videos online. For you it can be something completely different)

Here is a short list of how digital minimalism serves me and what it meant to me in the last eighteen months.
Your mileage may vary and your choices could be totally different. And this is OK.

#1. Digital minimalism 
- Decluttering my inbox, while either deleting or archiving over 2.000 e-mails.
- Committing to reading the new e-mails on a daily basis and replying within 24 hours only if it is something urgent while replying to other e-mails within 48 hours.
- Unsubscribing from newsletters and other mailing lists I don't need, care about or consistently read.
- Deleting my accounts on Twitter, Flick, Xing and other social media.
- Keeping only my LinkedIn and Pinterest/Google+ accounts, because they are important to me on a professional level and related to this blog as well.
- Not subscribing to further newsletters if I am not sure to read them on a weekly basis and if they don't add evident value to my life in a consistent way.
- Monitoring every week if I still read and enjoy the newsletters. If not, I unsubscribe immediately with no second thoughts.
- Not signing up for online classes and similar stuff if I am not sure to have time to fully commit to them.
- Unsubscribing from YouTube channels that don't meet the quality standards that I consider important for my time.
- Deleting the vast majority of the apps from my smartphone and keeping only the ones that I use on a daily or weekly basis.
- Keeping only one messaging app, Telegram, and letting go of all other options available online.

[It has been love at the first sight:
"Bad Girl" sticker series by Telegram]

These choices help me to have a good overview about personal e-mails, important notifications, bureaucracy, bills that need to be paid, online content I want to read, newsletters and YouTube channels I can learn from, topics that can be relevant to my activity as a consultant, special offers for very few selected stores and shopping portals.
They help me to stay focused and to work on what truly matters to me, and to enjoy my spare time in a pleasant and productive way.

Every time that something is not working for me any longer, for whatever reason, I adapt my strategy accordingly to the new situation and it is incredible for me to notice how easily these habits have become part of my life without me missing at all what I got rid of.

Next time the topic will be minimalist living.
In the meantime, what does digital minimalism mean to you?

Tags: Minimalism, FOMO, LOMO, Digital minimalism, Saying no, Focus, Quotes

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