Episode 229: Exploring Digital Minimalism with Cal Newport

On this episode, Cal Newport joins me to talk about his latest book, Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World. He is a computer science professor at Georgetown University and is a self-professed blogging nerd. He is also the author of six books, focusing on topics related to professional productivity, personal satisfaction and the intersection of technology and society.

My guest this time around is Cal Newport. Cal is a friend of mine and I’ve always loved chatting with him. This episode is no exception. We dived into a lot, talking about how I tend to share cool things on Facebook, the concept of “keeping things in boxes”, and being more intentional with birthday notifications – all in the name of what Cal has dubbed “Digital Minimalism.”

Specifics that we covered on the show include:

  • More of less is more: The rise of minimalism in the physical and digital world
  • Gaining meaning back into your life through less digital presence
  • Lifestyle philosophy over lifehacks, tips and tricks
  • Keeping boxes packed and installing only apps you miss
  • Clutter is costly: The negative cost that offsets the ‘benefits’ of clutter
  • Optimization is important: Make digital platforms work for you instead of you working for them
  • Intentionality trumps convenience: Reorienting your life to the things that provide most value
  • Quality analog friendships: Our lives pre-2007 and why Facebook birthday notifications is a giant Ponzi scheme 
  • Mindset shifts to make minimalism sustainable

“Digital minimalism is a movement. There’s a lot of people out there doing this. These are the people you see who are not looking at their phone when they’re waiting in line, they’re enjoying something outside and not documenting it, they have long conversations with friends where they don’t have a phone with them, they’re the guys building a canoe in their woodshed and haven’t seen their phone in three hours. They have so much more meaning and satisfaction they’re getting out of their lives.” ~ Cal Newport

Relevant Links

I’m pleased to bring you this  insightful conversation between me and Cal. The two of us can just talk for hours and cover so many things; I look forward to having him on again soon. I hope you’ll find this episode packed with tidbits to help you deal with your digital (and life) clutter.

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