In many areas of life, we are encouraged to find balance—eat a balanced diet or find a life-work balance. I recently read a book that noted a growing need to find a digital balance in our lives, too.
Smartphones are ubiquitous tools in our 21st century world, designed to make things easier and simpler, but do they really? Actually, the research is amazingly clear, the applications and social media tools available on digital devices are designed to be addictive to ensure we compulsively stay connected. So, how does one find balance in this connected world?
A colleague recently recommended the book Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World, by Cal Newport. The book’s premise is that we need to figure out how to “extract the good from these technologies while sidestepping what’s bad.” Mr. Newport offers specific guidance on how to overcome the powerful forces that have led to our digital dependence by first identifying a philosophy of technology use that aligns with our individual core values. From there, he offers steps to take to declutter our digital lives by focusing on the tools that are a value-add because of their alignment with our core values. While this may sound easy, it definitely is not!
The book is a compelling read. The author presents examples of people who have attempted to adopt his “digital minimalism” approach—some successfully and others who struggled. These real-life examples illustrate the powerful challenges associated with navigating a digital world and striving to unplug.
Balance—a simple concept, yet one that is so hard to find!