Minimalist technology hacks to declutter your life

Is technology controlling you, rather than you having control over it? It may be time to declutter your life and enter digital minimalism.

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6 min read
Our relationship with technology has become a love/hate one. It can sometimes feel like we’re so dependent on our devices that it’d be hard to function without them. If you’re seeking a bit of balance, it may be time to embrace digital minimalism.

In the 21st century, our lives have become ‘tech-centric’. Smart gadgets and new technology have evolved at an exponential rate. We can now talk to our fridges, order groceries by voice command and tell our lights to turn off when it’s time for bed. These devices have allowed us to do more than ever before, but how do we make the most of them and streamline our life?

With these digital declutter hacks, we can set intentional limits and boundaries to help us declutter our online life.

Productivity hacks

Through digital minimalism, we can create a mindful and balanced relationship with technology to support our goals, rather than feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.

Here are some activities that strongly support productivity, so you’ll be choosing a focused life.

Chrome’s UnDistracted extension

Social media can be a great tool to connect with loved ones and friends, but it can be easy to scroll for hours and get lost down the rabbit hole of cat videos. Google’s Chrome extension allows you to focus your online time on the social site’s chat function, and only go to people’s pages you directly want to see.

SelfControl for Mac

SelfControl blocks access to distracting websites like social media (even your email if needed). You can set a time to block sites or add sites to your blacklist. However, there is no going back, once you start the timer, you won’t be able to disable it. Even if you stop the app. Even if you restart your computer… now that’s discipline.

Calendly

Calendly is a user-friendly calendar scheduling tool that allows others to book meeting spots with you. It aims to save you time and energy and is simple to use. You can connect to six of your calendars and automatically schedule meetings, including buffer time with clients and colleagues.

Forest

The Forest app is designed to improve your concentration and productivity by limiting the use of your phone. This great idea allows users to set a timer and grow a beautiful, lush animated forest. However, if you exit the Forest app before the timer is up, your virtual forest will be destroyed. The forced concentration will stop you from multi-tasking and help you focus on the task at hand.

The Forest team also partners with a real tree-planting organisation. Users can earn coins, plant real trees around the world and contribute to keeping our environment green.

Grammarly

Grammarly is an online tool that grammar checks all your written work. Do you find yourself proofreading your work repeatedly? Eliminate grammar errors and detect plagiarism through this online tool. Save yourself time and energy with this free, online technology hack.

Declutter & simplify

Our lives have been programmed by technology, teaching us habits of instant gratification and unconscious behaviours. It may be costing us the ability to engage in deep work and stay focused on important tasks.

Simplifying our life may help us to become more organised and less stressed. The Marie Kondo KonMari method has gained popular attention because of its ability to help people live a minimalist lifestyle, and keep only a small number of carefully selected items that spark joy. The idea is all about creating space and time for the things you love and eliminating everything else.

Not only has it been shown that clutter detracts from our mental health, it’s also been suggested that our mental well-being benefits when our lives are simplified.

A misogi practice – a Japanese concept based on the idea of purification, is a mindful exercise of discernment and release. According to Psychology Today, it can lead to greater peace and clarity. Performed mindfully, the simple steps of putting our lives in order can become rituals of empowerment. Beginning your own misogi practice may cultivate greater peace and clarity in your life.

Here is a list of technology hacks that you can use to declutter and simplify your digital life.

Frustrated young woman bites down on pencil looking at her laptop screen

Remove all notifications

Do you get distracted every time you hear a ‘bing’ on your phone, sending you off track? You may like to consider a digital detox. You can begin by removing all app and message notifications off your phone, leaving phone calls.

You can change settings for notifications certain apps or for your whole phone. At first you might feel like you’re missing out, however you can set schedules or time blocks to remind yourself of when to check important notifications.

Being able to declutter your digital life isn’t easy, but it is worth it. Try starting today with baby steps.

Aeroplane mode

Aeroplane mode is another great setting to use to stop all notifications. It disables all calls, notifications and interruptions on your phone in this setting.

Set yourself a timer and when you want to check something, be intentional and open your phone to do so. So simple, yet effective.

Do not disturb

If you don’t want to be disturbed at certain times of the day you can schedule ‘Do Not Disturb’ on your phone. When the Do Not Disturb function is on, there’s a crescent moon in the status bar (iPhone users).

You can set it during working hours or at night so you can relax, such as from 8 pm to 8 am. You can also set it to allow calls from certain people, ‘your favourites’ or specific contact groups.  If your favourite Netflix show is interrupted by a phone call, you’ll know it’s important!

Auto delete emails

Emails can take up a lot of headspace and most of them are unimportant once read or actioned. They can be time-consuming and cluttering. One way to simplify your life is to automatically delete emails over one month old and not tagged as important. Depending on which email solution you use, this feature is common and simple to set up.

Online storage

Go paperless where possible. Save a lot of space and visual clutter by keeping a virtual filing system on your hard drive or in the cloud. Most documents can now be emailed to you, there’s no need for physical paper taking up drawer space.

There are a lot of different products on the market, look for ones that would best fit your lifestyle.

Woman using smartphone

One-stop shop

Streamlining your life has never been so easy with several online tools, technology hacks and bundle deals.

Groceries

Online grocery shopping has so many advantages. Not only can you save time and energy, but you might also save money. Simply sit at home, select your groceries for the week online, and either check out with a click and collect option or delivery.

By planning your groceries online, you don’t have to wander down each aisle trying to find your items. You can do it at the click of a button. You’ll also be able to stick to your budget to the very dollar and won’t be tempted by the half-price Tim Tams on your way to check out.

Automate transactions

Wherever you can, automate your transactions in your bank account. It’s a simple way to streamline your rent, mortgage and fixed payments without having to lift a finger. Automatically schedule payments when they are due, rather than getting notified and managing all your different bills.

Setting up automated payments is especially helpful for seniors – caregivers or loved ones can help set up recurring bill payments, making life easier and more efficient.

Young woman helping a senior gentleman use a smart phone

Bundle it

Sometimes switching services may seem like an effort in the short term, but it may save you money, time and energy in the long term.

Buying a TV, home phone and internet service from the same company may help reduce your number of bills (and likely the amount you pay). Companies often provide great deals to customers who choose to select more services with them.

Without us noticing, small admin tasks over time add up, stealing our free time and headspace. Remove the distraction of dealing with different providers and adopt principles of digital minimalism with bundle deals that fit your lifestyle.

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