Still Scrolling? Here’s How to Troubleshoot Digital Minimalism
It’s easy to set unrealistic expectations (“I’m done with social media forever!”) only for our judgement to lapse and we slip up. It’s even easier to be critical of ourselves when this happens. Several months ago, I was in a tough spot with my relationship to technology. I was slipping back into old behaviors and I was feeling hopeless. Enraged, I locked down my computer. I managed to find a way back in every time I locked it down. I needed another plan. I took a new approach, and bought a journal.
My new method was two fold.
1) Set aside a time for productivity
I needed to find a time to focus, but I didn’t have to be perfectly intentional the whole day
2) Heighten awareness of what my internet behaviors felt like.
During the rest of the time, instead of avoiding ‘distracting’ websites, I would do whatever I want and lean in to how the experience felt.
The way I’ve gone about self improvement in the past has focused on self-judgement. I would be adhering to a strict method, slip up and fall into self hatred. Instead, the goal with this method is to change your intrinsic desires- when you lean in to the experiences that produce that guilty feeling rather than critiquing yourself, you start to integrate those experiences, and eventually your desires shift.
I blocked mindless sites for a certain period of time to focus on school. But after those hours were up, I was free. I could go on whatever site or app I pleased. I took on the role of scientist and observed my behavior without judgement.
I started to write down every online interaction. I leaned in to the experiences, trying to tap into what it truly felt like to engage in behaviors that don’t line up with my values. I wrote down whatever emotion came up. Of course sometimes I slipped up and didn’t record anything, if that happened I just filled in what I could gather from my web history.
It was a combination of gaining awareness, blocking time consuming websites periodically, and orienting my attention to other things that began to make the difference in my digital minimalism journey. What works for you?