Staying home for nearly four weeks during this COVID-19 pandemic has given me a lot more time to think about what I want more of in my life and what I want less of.
First off, I want to decrease the things that annoy or cause me anxiety on a daily basis. Second, I want to increase the things that make me feel good on a daily basis. Third, I want more nourishing conversations with people and less shallow ones.
It feels like the perfect time for a digital detox.
After reading Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport earlier this year, I wanted to do a digital detox but things kept getting in the way. Now that almost everything has ground to a halt due to the pandemic, it seems like my wish to live a life with deeper focus, more nourishing connections, and less generalized technology has come to the forefront once again.
Here’s what I plan to do for the next 30 days.
- DECREASE SOCIAL MEDIA by spending 5 minutes or less on it per day. All social media will be conducted on my computer. Apps have been deleted from my phone.
- DECREASE EMAIL TIME by spending 25 minutes or less on it per day. Only check email after I’ve finished my writing and other important brain work and don’t check it again for the rest of the day. All emails will be done on my computer or tablet. Email has been deleted from my phone.
- DECREASE TIME ON MY iPHONE by turning off all notifications and reading texts only once per day. I will read all texts but responding is optional. I can choose to email or call people back rather than texting.
- READ THE NEWS no more than once per day for 30 minutes or less.
- GAIN KNOWLEDGE AND RELAX by reading 2 hours or more per day.
- GO FOR A WALK AND RELAX once per day (or more) for 40-60 minutes each time.
- LEARN PORTUGUESE on Duolingo for 10 minutes per day. This is one app I’m allowing on my iPhone.
- DEEPEN CONNECTIONS by having a long chat with at least one friend per week.
Little help here? To help myself with #1 and #2, I’ll set a timer for 5 minutes when I get on my Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, and will also set it for 25 minutes when I get on email. Now I just have to make sure I stop when the timer goes off!
Most challenging change? I think #1 and #2 will be the hardest to do consistently, with #3 being a close runner-up.
Easiest change? I don’t need to set a timer for reading the news because I rarely want to read it for more than 30 minutes.
Most welcome change? I’ve already been doing #5 and reading a lot more for several months now. It’s led to a massive uptick to my quality of life so I plan on keeping on with it. #6 is also something I’ve been trying to do for years now and except for days when I don’t feel good, I usually take a walk every day.
Most surprising change? I think I’ll be surprised at how I’ll feel after learning Portuguese (already started and Duolingo is an awesome little app) and connecting more with friends for 30 days.
I have my work cut out for me but I’m really looking forward to doing it. I’ll report back in a month and let you know how it went.
What about you? Does this list inspire you to make some changes to your daily life? Post your thoughts below. I’d love to hear from you.
Peg Cheng is the author of Rebel Millionaire, a guide for how to retire as a millionaire even if you make a modest income, co-owner of Plaid Frog Press, and a career coach combining intellect with intuition. Born in Southern California to Taiwanese parents, Peg lives in Seattle.
Karen Hugg says
This sounds great, Peg. I love what Cal Newport has to say. Your goals are admirable. I don’t know if I could do it, but I may try! You’re right, the time is now.
Peg Cheng says
A lot of my goals are due to you, Karen. I had read Cal’s DEEP WORK book but didn’t know about DIGITAL MINIMALISM until you tweeted me about it. So thanks! And let me know if you try some goals yourself.