Miguel Panao | Professor and Author

Finding ways to improve scientific writing and academic productivity.

Digital declutter demands a resilient mind

How many apps do you have on your smartphone that you don’t use? How many of those apps continuously ask for your attention? Even if these apps don’t affect your attention, why do you have them at all?

Digital devices and services revolutionized our lives, bringing us into a digital era where we spend most of our time and attention. But like goods which become affordable of black Friday lead to cluttered homes, also our digital interaction needs decluttering from time to time.

Last year, Cal Newport challenged the followers of his blog to cut back online addictions (article). The challenge was a simple one: remove every piece of digital interaction that wasn’t critical to their work and lives.And, at the month’s end, Newport suggested we slowly add everything back in. This turn toward digital minimalism means to understand what is essential in our digital lives.

Was this easy for his followers? Not at all, as reported in the New York Times article, but some of them found renewed pleasure in analog social media and activities. Contrary to digital interactions which lead to an addictive life in front of a small screen, real interactions develop our creativity and relationality.

Given the cultural digital tide, if someone asks you to declutter your digital time, cutting on social networking, emails, and news, we all feel resistant to the idea. It takes a resilient mind to move forward. All we need if find the small steps which bring quality to our lives.

There’s a simple way to start. When you’re doing deep work, put your smartphone in another room (if possible), or inside your bag in silent mode. According to a recent article, away from your sight, away from your heart.

About Miguel Panao

I am a Professor at the University of Coimbra in Mechanical Engineering. I am also author of books in the fields of environmental ethics and Science and Religion. From the several research projects, this site is personal and dedicated to the search for the best approaches, tools, techniques to improve scientific productivity.

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