D is for “Digital Decluttering”
I am a big fan of decluttering, both physical “stuff” and digital as well. The digital version is a little different in that its goal (at least for me) is to remove the things that waste my time, or that I don’t find valuable. For instance, I used to love browsing my Facebook feed but eventually found it unfulfilling in the long run. It was entertaining sometimes but ultimately I didn’t actually learn anything from my feed and I realized that I’d rather spend my time reading, watching travel shows or photography videos, or looking at my Feedly feed, which is easier to filter down to things I am interesting in seeing. I rarely check Facebook any more, and if I do go to Facebook, I’m just following someone’s link.
As for my Instagram feed (and Flickr too), I unfollowed a lot of people who I had followed since I started using Instagram. At first I felt bad unfollowing them, but you know, tastes change over time and it’s not healthy to try to stay with interests that aren’t relevant any longer. Gotta move on at some point! But who knows, someday I might become interested in that kind of photography again and I will re-follow the same people. But it’s not something I can force… it just has to happen naturally. The point is to not hold onto things that aren’t valuable anymore.
On another level, I like to delete old bookmarks that I have never gone back to (and may even be broken). Although it seems like these bookmarks are “out-of-sight, out-of-mind”, I believe that they still take up space in my subconscious. And anyways, when I click on a bookmarks folder, having less to look through means it is easier and faster to find the bookmarks I do use.
For my devices, I recently bought a Chromebook. It’s a laptop, but it basically just runs the Chrome browser. Many people think that this limitation makes Chromebooks less valuable, but I have found that placing limits on things is liberating. What I mean is that since large programs like Photoshop or Office cannot be installed on it, the purpose of the Chromebook is straightforward, streamlined, and simple. It’s not burdened by bloatware, so the things that it can do, it does very fast. It doesn’t have to load extra programs into memory, or start up a huge OS. In fact, it boots up in just a few seconds, and the battery lasts 10 hours. It’s a great blogging machine, and wonderful for watching Netflix.
These are just a few things in which digital decluttering improves my life. It works for me, and I think decluttering might help a lot of other people simplify their digital lives, and get them valuable time back.