In a mindful and intentional life, how exactly does technology fit in?
Many people see it as something that is distracting, toxic, and addicting.
Because of the negativity shrouding technology, it’s easy to believe that to live an intentional life, it makes the most sense to try to completely eliminate technology, right?
Although that is a possible solution for some people, it’s undeniable that technology has a plethora of benefits and has positively changed the lives of many.
In fact, technology can actually help us in living a simple, slow, and intentional lifestyle.
For example, I am currently in the process of going paperless, mainly for decluttering and environmental purposes, and I find that technology has been a major blessing for me in that area.
It also helps us stay connected to loved ones, makes information and learning a lot more accessible, allows us to express ourselves, and so much more.
Technology is a major part of our everyday lives and it isn’t going to go away anytime soon.
Luckily, you can still live an intentional life without completely ditching technology. We can implement the concepts of digital minimalism, helping us use technology in a more intentional and mindful way.
What is digital minimalism?
Digital minimalism is the concept of simplifying our online, digital lives. When I say digital, I am referring to our social media, internet, cellular, tablet, and overall technology usage.
It is no doubt that using technology can get overwhelming and stressful. There’s so much information and it’s easy to get sensory overload, especially with the hundreds of tabs that we have open at once (I’m especially guilty of this).
Not to mention the elephant in the room — social media.
Social media is a wonderful place to stay connected with loved ones, but there are definitely unspoken dark sides to it as well, such as comparison, feeling inadequate, etc.
That’s why it’s important to implement digital minimalism so you can use technology in a way that benefits and empowers you.
There is definitely space for tech in an intentional and slow lifestyle.
That being said, let’s get into the different ways you can use technology intentionally and mindfully!
1. Keep a clean digital space
We declutter so we can make room for mental clarity and the other things we deem important to us. It should be the same in a digital environment.
That’s why it’s important to decide what you want to keep on your digital devices and clean out what you don’t need anymore.
Delete old unused files, move things to your external hard-drive, organize and put loose files into folders, etc.
This will take a while, so I recommend you to chunk this process out or dedicate a day to organizing and decluttering.
In the meantime, you can start with the tabs and windows you have open right now! Close whatever you’re not using or whatever might distract you from completing your task at hand.
A cleaner digital space allows you to focus better and be more intentional in what you’re doing right now.
Pro-tip: designate a small amount of time each week to clean out your phone, computer, iPad, etc. Files quickly accumulate over time, so it’s important to clean daily. It’ll save you a lot of stress.
2. Observe what you’re spending your time on
When you’re surfing the web on your devices, you might find yourself on autopilot mode, mindlessly scrolling, letting the internet dictate what you do next.
This is the complete opposite of living an intentional and mindful lifestyle.
To bring more awareness to your digital habits, you can observe what you’re spending your time on and for how long.
To help with this, you can download the Chrome plugin, Webtime tracker.
It’s a plug-in that keeps track of the sites you go on and records how long you’re on them.
It’s hard to appropriately track and get a sense of how long we’re actually spending on our digital devices, especially when you’re on autopilot mode.
After seeing the data, you can appropriately adjust our digital environment to fit your needs.
We want to be intentional with our time, doing things that serve us best. Scrolling through twitter late at night for hours on end might not be one of them (Trust me, I know from first-hand experience).
3. Notice how you feel when you’re on your devices
A big component of digital minimalism and mindfulness is to recognize how you feel in the present moment. This also applies when you’re on the web or scrolling through your phone.
Recognizing how you feel when we’re doing something is extremely powerful. If you know how you feel, you then have the knowledge to act upon it.
When we mindlessly scroll through our phones, click from youtube video to youtube video, it’s hard to recognize how we’re feeling, let alone, remember what we actually consume.
But with the addicting algorithms and designs of many social media platforms, it’s getting easier to get sucked in, making it harder to recognize how you feeling before hours have passed.
Being aware of how we feel strengthens and betters our relationship with technology. It’ll allow us to use it in a way that benefits us instead of the corporations running them.
4. Adjust and optimize your digital environment
The digital landscape is designed in a way to keep us addicted and to stay on the platform longer.
When starting out with digital minimalism, it can be hard to break out of old habits.
Luckily, there are ways you can adjust your digital environment to best serve you and to create a more beneficial experience.
Here are some ideas on how you can optimize your digital space!
- Use a Chrome extension to block you from going on certain sites
When you’re starting out in your journey to be more intentional, or if you get easily distracted like me, studying or doing any type of work can be a struggle.
However, by using a plugin that limits your website access, you’ll prevent yourself from being pulled into an endless cycle of distractions.
I recommend the Block Site chrome extension. It was designed to help you block distractions and to stay focused! You can set a focus timer to block the site for a set period of time. It’s super customizable and there are many options! I highly recommend it.
- Organize the resources you need and have them “near” you
That way, there won’t be any excuses not to do something. If you’re an artist going on your laptop to get work done, have Photoshop or whatever application you use docked in your menu.
Or if you need to use a certain site for work or your goals, have it bookmarked, visible, and accessible. Empower your goals by making these small changes.
- Turn on night shift or a blue-light filter
It’s no secret: blue light from your devices may make it harder for you to get a good night sleep.
The good news is that most phones have a night shift option. On Apple products, there is a Night Shift option that you can schedule. On the android, there should be a blue light filter option.
That way, if you need to use your phone or any device at night, it won’t disrupt your sleep.
5. Identify what brings value to you on the internet
To understand what you want to get out from using your digital devices, it’s important to know what you want out of it.
Why do you use your phone? Or why do you go on YouTube?
Pinpoint the things that bring value to you on the internet or from any other digital device you use.
It’s important that you ask yourself these questions so you can use technology in a more intentional and empowering way. When you know your intentions for using your digital devices, you’ll be a lot more focused, productive, and calm.
How I use technology in an intentional way
As I mentioned in the article, one of my goals related to intentional living is to go paperless.
As a person looking to live a more minimalist and intentional lifestyle, I find that eliminating unnecessary paper use helps me get rid of so much clutter.
Therefore, I turned to technology to help me with this goal.
I am an avid journaler and planner, as these are practices that help me live a more intentional, purposeful, and mindful life. I used to use paper journals, but those accumulated, took up space and collected way too much dust.
Today, I use my all-in-one digital planner, the Clarity Planner, a completely paperless and cost-efficient planner you can get from my shop. I do my planning and journaling in it, plus more! It’s a planner I crafted to help others live a more purposeful and mindful life.
Eliminating physical clutter has allowed me to not only make room for the things I love but also helped cut on costs from having to buy single-use paper products.
The Clarity Planner is undated and can be reused for, well, forever (or however long you want). You only need to buy once and you can use it for the rest of your life, literally.
Technology has helped me live a more intentional life — it’s how I learned about intentional and simple living in the first place!
Technology isn’t our enemy.
If we’re mindful and intentional in how we use it, we’ll be able to utilize it in a way that serves us.
How does technology help you in your intentional lifestyle? Let us know in the comments below!