A good book about managing the overwhelming digital impact on our lives. Full of tips and tricks. I like Cal’s writing style. I enjoyed this book despite already reading Deep Work and Make Time in the last 6 months.


Digital Minimalism

Definition

A philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time on a small number of carefully selected and optimised activities that strongly support things you value, and then happily miss out on everything else.

Principles

#1 Clutter is costly

What technologies to adopt, which to ignore.

Thoreau’s new economics:

When people consider specific tools or behaviours in their digital lives, they tend to focus only on the value each produces. Maintaining an active presence on Twitter, for example, may occasionally open up an interesting new connection or expose you to an idea you hadn’t heard before. Standard economic thinking says that such profits are good, and the more you receive the better. It therefore makes sense to clutter your life with as many of these small sources of value as you can find, much as it made sense for Concord farmer to cultivate as many acres of land as he could afford to mortgage.

Thoreau’s new economics, however, demands that you balance this profit against the costs measured in terms of “your life”. How much of your time and attention, he would ask, must be sacrificed to earn the small profit of occasional connections and new ideas that is earned by cultivating a significant presence on Twitter?

That is why clutter is dangerous. It’s easy to be seduced by the small amounts of profit offered by the latest app or service, but then forget its cost in terms of the most important resource we process: the minutes of our life.

#2 Optimisation is important

How to use selected technologies to extract their full potential benefit.

The return curve (law of diminishing marginal utility) of using technologies. Also the utility of energy spent optimising the use of technology (e.g. filtering twitter to just the most important uses).

Useful tip:

Watch TV/streaming services only in social situations.

This allows us to enjoy the value that TV/streaming offers, but to do so in a more controlled manner that limits its potential for abuse (binge-watching and resultant isolation) and strengthens something else that we value: social life.

#3 Intentionality is satisfying

Derive significant satisfaction from being more intentional about how we engage with new technologies.

The Amish prioritise the benefits generated by acting intentionally about technology over the benefits lost from the technologies they decide not to use. Their gamble is that intention trumps convenience.

 

The sugar high of convenience is fleeting and the sting of missing out dulls rapidly, but the meaningful glow that comes from taking charge of what claims your time and attention is something that persists

The digital declutter

Process

  1. Put aside a 30-day period during which you will take a break from optional tech in your life
  2. During this break, explore and rediscover activities and behaviours that you find satisfying and meaningful
  3. At the end of the break, reintroduce optional techs into your life, starting from a blank slate. For each tech you introduce, determine what value it serves in your life and how specifically you will use it so as to maximise this value

Step 1: Define rules

What’s Technology in this context?

… apps, websites, and related digital tools that are delivered through a computer screen or a mobile phone and are meant to either entertain, inform, or connect you.

Examples: Instagram, text messaging, reddit, TV, video games
Not: microwave, electric toothbrush, and radio.

What’s Optional?

… consider the tech optional unless its temporary removal would harm or significantly disrupt the daily operation of your professional or personal life.

Don’t confuse “convenient” with “critical”.

Standard operating procedures

… specify exactly how and when you use a particular tech, allowing you to maintain some critical uses without having to default to unrestricted access.

Step 2: The break

  • First two weeks are difficult, like a detox
  • Not just a detox - goal is also to aggressively explore higher-quality activities to fill in the time left vacant. Should be a period of strenuous activity and experimentation.

Step 3: Reintroduce Tech

The minimalist technology screening. A tech must:

  1. Serve something you deeply value (just some benefit isn’t enough)
  2. Be the best way to use tech to serve this purpose (if not, replace with something better)
  3. Be constrained with a standard operating procedure (defining how and when)

Is this technology the best way to support this value?

We justify many of the technologies that tyrannise our time and attention with some tangential connection to something we care about. The minimalist, by contrast, measures the value of these connections and is unimpressed by all but the most obvious.

Consider …. following your cousin’s baby pictures on Instagram. We noted that this activity might be tentatively justified by the fact that you deeply value family. But the relevant follow-up question is whether browsing Instagram photos is the best way to support this value. On some reflection, the answer is probably no. Something as simple as actually calling this cousin once a month or so would probably prove significantly more effective in maintaining this bond.

… many attention economy companies want you to think about their services in a binary way: either you use it, or you don’t. This allows them to entice you into their ecosystem with some feature you find important, and then, once you’re a “user,” deploy attention engineering to overwhelm you with integrated options, trying to keep you engaged with their service well beyond your original purpose.

Practices: Spend time alone

Solitude

Definition

A subjective state in which your mind is free from input from other minds.

 

Many people mistakenly associate this term with physical separation—requiring, perhaps, that you hike to a remote cabin miles from another human being. This flawed definition introduces a standard of isolation that can be impractical for most to satisfy on any sort of a regular basis.
As Kethledge and Erwin explain, however, solitude is about what’s happening in your brain, not the environment around you.

On Running

Erwin, for his part, used long runs alongside the cornfields of Michigan to work through the difficult emotions he faced on first returning from combat, joking that “running is cheaper than therapy.”

Michael Erwin — former army officer who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and co-author of “Lead yourself first: Inspiring leadership through solidarity”.

Benefits of solitude

“new ideas; an understanding of the self; and closeness to others”

—Michael Harris, Canadian social critic and author of Solitude.

Harris argues, perhaps counterintuitively, that “the ability to be alone… is anything but a rejection of close bonds,” and can instead affirm them. Calmly experiencing separation, he argues, builds your appreciation for interpersonal connections when they do occur.

Solitude deprivation

Definition

A state in which you spend close to zero time alone with your own thoughts and free from input from other minds.

History

As recently as the 1990s, solitude deprivation was difficult to achieve. There were just too many situations what forced you to be alone with your thoughts, whether you wanted or not—waiting in line, crammed into a crowded subway car, walking down the street, working on your yard.

 

Today, as I’ve argued, it’s become widespread…

… smartphones are the primary enabler of solitude deprivation. To avoid this condition, therefore, it makes sense to try to spend regular time away from these devices—re-creating the frequent exposure to solitude that until recently was an unavoidable part of daily life.

Effect

For one thing, when you avoid solitude, you miss out on the positive things it brings you: the ability to clarify hard problems, to regulate your emotions, to build moral courage, and to strengthen relationships.

Constant access to social media, messaging, and smartphones has lead to a constant background hum of low-grade anxiety that permeates our daily lives.

Connected cabin

… alternation between regular time alone with your thoughts and regular connection with people that I propose as the key to avoiding solitude deprivation in a culture that also demands connection.
As Thoreau’s example emphasises, there’s nothing wrong with connectivity, but if you don’t balance it with regular doses of solitude, its benefits will diminish.

Practice: Leave your phone at home

… the urgency we feel to always have a phone with us is exaggerated. To live permanently without these devices would be needlessly annoying, but to regularly spend a few hours away from them should give you no pause.

Spend some time away from your phone most days.

Succeeding with this strategy requires that you abandon the belief that not having your phone is a crisis.

Tip:

If you’re struggling at first, bring your phone where you’re going, but then leave it in your car’s glove compartment. That way, if there’s an emergency that requires connection, you can always go retrieve your device.
If you’re not driving, and are with someone else, ask them to hold on to your phone for you.

Practice: Take long walks

… the same key property of walking: it’s a fantastic source of solitude.

Nietzsche, on reading books (vs walking and thinking):

We do not belong to those who have ideas only among books, when stimulated by books.

On a regular basis, go for long walks, preferably somewhere scenic. Take these walks alone, which means not just by yourself, but also, if possible, without your phone.

Tip:

If you cannot abandon your phone for logistical reasons, then put it at the bottom of a backpack so you can use it in an emergency but cannot easily extract it at the first hint of boredom.

No: podcasts, headphones, text messages, live streaming….

Walking, not as exercise

We should heed Thoreau’s warning that we’re not talking about a short jaunt for a little exercise, but honest-to-goodness, Nietzsche-on-the-slope-of-a-mountain-style long journeys—these are the grist of productive aloneness.

Thoreau:

I think I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least—and it is commonly more than that—sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements.

Practice: Write letters to yourself (journaling)

The content and structure changes…

In early 2007, however, the content of my notebooks broadens from a narrow focus on professional projects (graduate student issues, notes about marketing the first book ‘How to win at college’) to also include reflections and ideas about my life more generally. (“5 things to focus on this semester”, thoughts on “blank page productivity”).

The fall of 2008 sees a more significant shift toward deeper introspection with an entry titled “Better,” which lays out a vision for both my professional and personal life.

In December of that year, I wrote an entry titled “The Plan,” underneath which I put a list of values in life, falling under the categories of “relationships,” “virtues,” and “qualities.”

Letters, not daily diaries…

My Moleskine notebooks are not exactly diaries because I don’t write in them on a regular schedule. These notebooks play a different role: they provide me a way to write a letter to myself when encountering a complicated decision, or a hard emotion, or a surge of inspiration. By the time I’m done composing my thoughts in the structured form demanded by written prose, I’ve often gained clarity. I do make a habit of regularly reviewing these entries, but this habit is often superfluous. It’s the act of writing itself that yields the bulk of the benefits.

Write a letter to yourself when faced with demanding or uncertain circumstances.

Benefits

Writing a letter to yourself is an excellent mechanism for generating … solitude. It not only frees you from outside inputs but also provides a conceptual scaffolding on which to sort and organise your thinking.

Practices: Don’t click ‘like’

Matthew Lieberman, researching the ‘default network’ in human brain:

… human brains adapted to automatically practice social thinking during any moments of cognitive downtime, and it’s this practice that helps us become really interested in our social world.

The brain did not evolve over millions of years to spend its free time practicing something irrelevant to our lives.

 

The intricate brain networks described above evolved over millions of years in environments where interactions were always rich, face-to-face encounters, and social groups were small and tribal.
The past two decades, by contrast, are characterised by spread of digital communication tools which have pushed people’s social networks to be much larger and much less local, while encouraging interactions through short, text-based messages and approval clicks that are orders of magnitude less information laden than what we have evolved to expect.

The social media paradox

Holly Shakya, from UCSD, coauthor of study on FB activity, physical health, mental health, and life satisfaction:

What we know at this point is that we have evidence that replacing your real-world relationships with social media use is detrimental to your well-being.

 

The problem, then, is not that using social media directly makes us unhappy. The key issues is that using social media tends to take people away from the real-world socialising that’s massively more helpful.

[My note]: Real world socialising comes with all the ups, downs, and flat lines of the real world experiences. Social media, on the other hand, is highly curated by the companies to keep us on a high. It’s obvious that the social media crowds out real world interactions.

Shakya:

Where we want to be cautious is when the sound of a voice or a cup of coffee with a friend is replaced with ‘likes’ on a post.

Aside: Other social media side-effects

Critics have also highlighted the ability for social media to make us feel ostracised or inadequate, as well as to stoke exhausting outrage, inflame our worst tribal instincts, and perhaps even degrade the democratic process itself.

[My note]: FOMO is real

Reclaiming conversation

Face-to-face conversation is the most human—and humanising—thing we do. Fully present to one another, we learn to listen. It’s where we develop the capacity for empathy. It’s where we experience the joy of being heard, of being understood

—Sherry Turkle

Conversation vs connection

In her 2015 book, Reclaiming conversation, (professor Sherry) Turkle draws a distinction between connection, her word for low-bandwidth interactions that define out online social lives, and conversation, the much richer, high-bandwidth communication that defines real-world encounters between humans.

 

Colbert: Don’t all these little tweets, these little sips of online connection, add up to one big gulp of real conversation?
Turkle: No, they do not. Face-to-face conversation unfolds slowly. It teaches patience. We attend to tone and nuance. When we communicate on our digital devices, we learn different habits.

Conversation-centric communication

Conversation is the only form of interaction that in some sense counts towards maintaining a relationship. This conversation can take the form of a face-to-face meeting, or it can be a video chat or a phone call—so long as it matches Sherry Turkle’s criteria of involving analogue cues, such as tone of your voice or facial expressions.

 

In this philosophy, connection is downgraded to a logistical role, with just two goals: to help set up and arrange conversation, or to efficiently transfer practical information (e.g. a meeting location or an upcoming event)
Connection is no longer an alternative to conversation; it’s instead its supporter.

Sacrifices

… you’ll almost certainly reduce the number of people with whom you have an active relationship.
Real conversation takes time, and the total number of people for which you can uphold this standard will be significantly less than the total number of people you can follow, retweet, “like”, and occasionally leave a comment for on social media, or ping with an occasional text.

Practices

#1 Don’t click “Like”

Don’t click like, and don’t comment on social media. No longer use social media as a tool for low-quality relationship nudges.

To click “Like,” within the precise definitions of information theory, is literally the least informative type of nontrivial communication, providing only a minimal one bit of information about the state of the sender to the receiver.

… these seemingly innocuous interactions teach your mind that connection is a reasonable alternative to conversation. … Once you accept this equality, despite your good intentions, the role of low-value interactions will inevitably expand until it begins to push out the high-value socialising that actually matters.

Again:

It’s worth noting that refusing to use social media icons and comments to interact means that some people will inevitable fall out of your social orbit—in particular, those whose relationship with you exists only over social media.
Here’s my tough love reassurance: let them go.

The idea that it’s valuable to maintain vast numbers of weak-tie social connections is largely an invention of the past decade or so—the detritus of over exuberant network scientists spilling inappropriately into social sphere.

#2 Consolidate texting

Keep your phone in the Do not disturb mode by default, at all times. For emergencies, adjust settings to allow calls from a selected list (spouse, kid’s school) to come through.

This turns texting into email: if you want to see if anyone has sent you something, you must turn on your phone and open the app.

Schedule specific times for texting.

… consolidated sessions in which you go through the backlog of texts you received since the last check, sending responses as needed and perhaps even having some brief back-and-forth interaction before apologising that you have to go.

Motivations:

  1. It allows you to be more present when you’re not texting. This will improve the real-world interactions. This may also provide some anxiety reduction.
  2. It can upgrade the nature of your relationships.

Many people fear that their relationships will suffer if they downgrade this form of light-weight connection. … instead, you can be the one person in their lives who actually talks to them on a regular basis, forming a deeper, more nuanced relationship than any number of exclamation points and bitmapped emojis can provide.

#3 Hold conversation office hours

Put aside set time on set days during which you’re always available for conversation. Once these office hours are set, promote them to the people you care.

When someone instigates a low-quality connection (text or ping), suggest that they call or meet you during office hours sometime when it’s convenient for them.

… this system enables us to easily shift time-consuming, low-quality connections into higher-quality conversations.

When someone emails a complicated question:

“I’d love to get into that. Call me at 5:30 any day you want.”

When you want to catch-up with someone, send them a note:

“I’d love to get up to speed on what’s going in your life, call me at 5:30 some time.”

 

Close friends and family members internalise the 5:30 rule, and probably feel more comfortable calling us on a whim that they do other people in their circles, as they know we’re available then and always happy to take their call.

Alternative: Coffee shop hours:

Pick some time each week during which you settle into a table at your favourite coffee shop with the newspaper or a good book. The reading, however, is just a backup activity. Spread the word that you’re always at the shop during these hours with the hope that you soon cultivate a rotating group of regulars that come hang out.

British version: at a pub in happy hours 🙂

Benefit:

This strategy overcomes the major obstacle to meaningful socialising: the concern, mentioned above, that unsolicited calls might be bothersome.

Practices: Reclaim leisure

In recent years, as the boundary between work and life blends, jobs become more demanding, and community traditions degrade, more and more people are failing to cultivate high-quality leisure lives that Aristotle identifies as crucial for human happiness.
This leaves a void that would be unbearable if confronted, but that can be ignored with the help of digital noise.

 

If you begin decluttering the low-value digital distractions from your life before you’ve convincingly filled in the void they were helping you ignore, the experience will be unnecessarily unpleasant at best and a massive failure at worse.

The Bennett principle

The financial independence (FI) community.

Central insight of FI 2.0 movement:

If you radically reduce your living expenses, you gain two advantages:
1. You can save money at a much faster pace (50-70% saving rate is common), and
2. You don’t have to save as much to become independent, as the expenses you need to meet are lower.

[Quip] Pete’s leisure philosophy (Mr. Money Moustache):

If you leave me alone for a day … I’ll have a joyous time rotating between carpentry, weight training, writing, playing around with instruments in the music studio, making lists and executing tasks from them.

Pete’s rationale for strenuous life:

It doesn’t cost much money, it provides physical exercise, and it’s good for his mental health.

Arnold Bennett (author of ‘How to live on 24 hours a day’):

What? You say that the full energy given to those 16 hours will lessen the value of the business 8? Not so. On the contrary, it will increase the value of the business 8. One of the chief things which my typical man has to learn is that the mental faculties are capable of a continuous hard activity; they do not tire like an arm or a leg. All they want is change—not rest, except in sleep.

Leisure lesson #1

Prioritise demanding activity over passive consumption.

On craft and satisfaction

Definition: Craft

Any activity where you apply skill to create something valuable.

Matthew Crawford (philosopher-mechanic):

One way to understand the exploding popularity of social media platforms in recent years is that they offer a substitute source of aggrandisement. In the absence of a well-built wood bench or applause at a musical performance to point toward, you can instead post a photo of your latest visit to a hip restaurant.

Gary Rogowski (furniture maker, author of ‘*Handmade*’):

“Leave good evidence of yourself. Do good work.”

Leisure lesson #2

Use skills to produce valuable things in the physical world.

Supercharged sociality

Definition:

Interactions with higher intensity levels than are common in polite society.

Examples:

Sax describes the excited chatter and loud belly laughs he encountered at Snakes & Lattes on a busy night.

 

Every couple of months, a group of dads I know get together to (poorly) play poker. These sessions provide us an excuse to joke and chat and vent for three hours. When a player in our game runs out of chips early, he always sticks around for the rest of the game.

Social fitness

… fitness has shifted from a private activity at the gym to a social interaction in the studio or on the street.

  • Bootcamps,
  • F3 (fitness, fellowship and faith) - only for men, volunteer led, free, camaraderie, acronym lingo,…

“For FNGs [new members], the swirl of inside-baseball lingo and jargon used at your average F3 workout can be a bit confusing. Like, for instance, What’s an FNG and why do people keep calling me that?”

Crossfit

a religion run by a biker gang

—Greg Glassman, Crossfit founder, describing the sense of rough-edged but intense camaraderie created by Crossfit

The secret to Crossfit’s success is probably best captured by one of the most notable differences between a Crossfit box and a standard gym: no one is wearing earphones.

 

“The camaraderie of other members cheering me on to finish strong as I fought for a few more reps during a WOD was an exhilarating feeling which I never have experienced at any other fitness facility.”

Social leisure activities

The most successful social leisure activities share two traits.

First, they require you to spend time with other people in person. As emphasised, there is a sensory and social richness to real-world encounters that’s largely lost in virtual connections.
The second trait is that the activity provides some sort of structure for social interaction, including rules you have to follow, insider terminology or rituals, and often a shared goal. These constraints paradoxically enable more freedom of expression. Your CrossFit buddies will holler and whoop, and give you emphatic high fives and sweaty hugs with a joyous enthusiasm that would seem insane in most other contexts.

Leisure lesson #3

Seek activities that require real-world, structured social interactions.

The leisure renaissance

Mouse book club

‘mobilising literature’

If you join this club, you will receive, four times a year, a themed collection of classic books and short stories.
What’s different … the books themselves, which are custom printed in a compact booklet that’s roughly the height and width of a smartphone. The size is intentional.

Philosophy:

A Mouse Book can fit into your pocket next to your phone. Whenever you feel the urge to pull out your phone for a quick hit of distraction, you can instead pull out the Mouse Book and read a few pages of something deeper.

Foundational theme of digital minimalism:

New tech, when used with care and intention, creates a better life than either Luddism or mindless adoption.

Practices

#1 Fix or build something every week

The simplest way to become more handy is to learn a new skill, apply it to repair, learn, or build something, and then repeat.

My suggestion is that you try to learn and apply one new skill every week, over a period of six weeks.

#2 Schedule your low-quality leisure time

You can’t, in other words, build a billion-dollar empire like Facebook if you’re wasting hours every day using a service like Facebook.

 

The premise of this chapter is that by cultivating a high-quality leisure life first, it will become easier to minimise low-quality digital diversions later.

Schedule in advance the time you spend on low-quality leisure.

Two reasons this works:

First, by confining your use of attention-capturing services to well-defined periods, your remaining leisure time is left protected for more substantial activities.
Second, it doesn’t ask you to completely abandon low-quality diversions.

Tip:

When first implementing this strategy, don’t worry about how much time you put aside for low-quality leisure.
The aggressiveness of your restrictions will naturally increase as they allow you to integrate more and more higher-quality pursuits into your life.

#3 Join something

It’s easy to get caught up in annoyances or difficulties inherent in any gathering of individuals struggling to work toward a common goal. These obstacles provide us a convenient excuse to avoid leaving the comfort of family and close friends, but Benjamin Franklin teaches us that it’s worth pushing past these concerns.

Join first, he would advise, and work out the issues later.

#4 Follow leisure plans

Seasonal leisure plan

  • Put together 3-4 times a year (beginning of quarters, or seasons, or college sessions).
  • Two different types of items
    1. Objectives
      > Objectives describe specific goals you hope to accomplish, with accompanying strategies for how you will accomplish them.
    2. Habits
      > Habits describe behaviour rules you hope to stick with throughout the season.

Objectives
Habits

Weekly leisure plan

At beginning of the week, put aside time to review your current seasonal plan. After processing it, come up with a plan for how your leisure activities will fit into your schedule for the upcoming week. For each objective, figure what actions you can do during the week, and, crucially, schedule exactly when you’ll do these things.

Integrated plan for work and leisure:

If you’re already in the habit of creating detailed plans for your week (which I highly recommend), you can just integrate your weekly leisure plan into whatever system you already use for planning. The more you see these leisure plans as just part of your normal scheduling, the more likely you are to succeed in following them.

Review:

It can also be useful to briefly reflect on your experience with the habits in the week that just ended.

The goal here is twofold. First, knowing that you will soon review your performance makes you more likely in the moment to stick with your habits. Second, this reflection allows you to identify issues that might need resolving. If you’re consistently failing to execute a given habit, regardless of your efforts to cajole yourself into action, there might be an issue with the habit itself that makes it difficult to satisfy.

Scorecards:

Some people like to keep simple scorecards throughout the week of how often they stuck with the rules specified by the habits, and review the scorecard as part of this reflection.

Join the attention resistance

Definition:

… combine high-tech tools with disciplined operating procedures to conduct surgical strikes on popular attention economy services—dropping in to extract value, and then slipping away before the attention traps set by these companies can spring shut.

Facebook as foundational technology

Facebook has in recent years presented itself as a foundational technology, like electricity or mobile telephony—something that everyone should just use, as it would be weird if you didn’t. This status of cultural ubiquity is ideal for Facebook because it pressures people to remain users without having to sell them on concrete benefits.

 

… by far one of the most common arguments I used to hear from people about why I should sign up for Facebook is that there might be some benefit I didn’t even know about that I might be missing. “You never know, maybe you’ll find this to be useful” has got to be one of the worst product pitches ever devised. But in particular context of the digital attention economy, it makes a lot of sense to people.

On Twitter

Twitter scares me, not because I’m morally superior to it, but because I don’t think I could handle it. I’m afraid I’d end up letting my son go hungry.

—George Packer, New Yorker writer

Practices

#1 Delete social media from your phone

Remove all social media apps from your phone. You don’t have to quit these services; you just have to quit accessing them on the go.

By removing your ability to access social media at any moment, you reduce its ability to become a crutch deployed to distract you from bigger voids in your life.

#2 Turn your devices into single-purpose computers

As many have discovered, the rapid switching between different applications tends to make the human’s interaction with the computer less productive in terms of the quality and quantity of what is produced.

With this in mind, there’s nothing deeply ironic about “taking a powerful productivity machine like a modern laptop computer and shutting down some of its core functions in order to increase productivity.” It’s instead quite natural once you recognise that the power of a general-purpose computer is in the total number of things it enables the user to do, not the total number of things it enables the user to do simultaneously.

Apps:

  • Freedom
  • SelfControl

Think of services as blocked by default.

#3 Use social media like a professional

How they use social media

  • Not for entertainment (no dog meme accounts)
  • Use, say IG, to follow small number of communities closely related to their interests. Sufficiently narrow that it takes only a few minutes to browse all new posts since the last check.
  • Don’t use the ‘stories’ feature
    > “reality TV starring your friends” —Jennifer Grygiel, Social media professional
  • FB rule: only for close friends and family, and for occasionally connecting with influencers
    • Limits engagement to close connections below the Dunbar number
    • Checks once every 4 days to check what’s up with close friends and family
  • Uses twitter for staying up to date
    • Separate account for each kind of interest
    • Use as an early detection radar for trending news or ideas
    • TweetDeck, with sophisticated searches to filter, and thresholding (only top X number of tweets)

#4 Embrace slow media

  • The slow media manifesto (Germany 2010)

    • Become more mindful in our media consumption
      > Slow Media cannot be consumed casually, but provoke the full concentration of their user. … Slow Media measure themselves in production, appearance and content against high standard of quality and stand out from their fast-paced and short-lived counterparts
  • Slow food movement

    • local food and traditional cuisine as an alternative to fast food

Key aspects:

  1. Focus only on the highest quality sources.
    > Breaking news, for example, is almost always much lower quality than the reporting that’s possible once an event has occurred and journalists have had time to process it.
  2. Consider limiting your attention to the best of the best when it comes to selecting individual writers you follow.
  3. If you’re interested in commentary on political and cultural issues, this experience is almost always enhanced by also seeking out the best arguments against your preferred position.
  4. Decide when and how to consume slow media.
    > Set times, and ritualise by choosing a location that will support you in giving your full attention to the reading.
    > Also care about the format in which you do the reading.
    - Paper > Digital, Kindle (w.out backlight acceptable)
    - Pocket/Instapaper

#5 Dumb down your smartphone

Doro phone
Nokia 130
Light phone

Doro phone

There’s an underground movement of executives that use dumb phones like the Doro. They are, for the most part, in finance—typically hedge fund managers. It turns out that for people who move hundreds of millions of dollars in high-stakes trades every day, there’s great advantage in shielding yourself from distracting market information that can bias your decisions and potentially cost you massive amounts of money.