30 Jan 2019 - Vivian Hir
3 Week Digital Minimalism Human Study Results
It has been around 3 weeks since I started the digital minimalism
experiment. I wouldn't say I am a serious digital minimalist because I have
to admit I sometimes use the internet to search up things that aren't my
top priority. Some are important, but not as of the present moment. I will
break down what I learned from not being on some websites I used to be on
quite often. I hope my experience will help you consider what you can do to
change your relationship with technology.
Before: I used to read my favorite blog, MIT Admissions blogs, on the
weekends, but then it gradually became something on a daily basis if there
was a new blog. Even if it has provided me with a lot of information about
MIT student life and culture, I think reading it was kind of unhealthy. I
probably spent more time on this than YouTube.
After: I learned that missing out isn't necessarily a bad thing. I enjoyed
commenting on their posts and reading some inspirational blogs, but it
became a habit that made me think about MIT everyday. I didn't want to
become obsessed with college, so I decided that it wasn't bad to take a
break from it. Just as what Danny and Allan G. from the blogs said, reading
these blogs religiously gave them a lot of pressure, as if that was their
only choice. I learned that even if I am very interested in the blogs, it
doesn't mean I have to read it every single time. I think I would read them
around decision and essay season.
Before: I used to watch YouTube videos for leisure on the weekends around
15-20 minutes a day for a total of 40 minutes. Some videos on my
recommended were tempting to watch but didn't really have any meaningful
value or good content, such as reactions to colleges decisions or scores.
There were some vlogs that caught my attention but didn't really interest
me but I still clicked on it.
After: I realized that my life is more peaceful because now my brain
doesn't have to remind myself to check YouTube on the weekends. I got rid
of FOMO from YouTube. As of now, my life isn't worse off without YouTube
because there are other forms of entertainment. For this period, I used
YouTube for videos related to school or projects. What I learned was that I
didn't need to watch videos on my recommended because the channels I
subscribed to had better content than some recommended ones. I think
YouTube is helpful if you watch videos about self-help and advice, such as
Thomas Frank and John Fish. In my opinion, I think watching his videos were
Before: When my mom would bring up this smart kid everyone in the community
knew or her friend's kids that attended an Ivy League school, I would
search up their LinkedIn profile to know what they were studying and what
achievements they had in high school. Although it gave me some glimpse
about them, it made me have lower self-esteem because I was comparing
my "brag sheet" to theirs. It made me feel quite mediocre.
After: I don't go on LinkedIn because I don't need to go on LinkedIn as I
am not finding jobs or anything. It has made me stop comparing myself to
other geniuses because I don't know their GPA, scores, or awards. If I am
going to become an intern, I probably need one.
Before: I would search up daily news headlines on Google and read the
headlines briefly. It gradually became an automatic habit. Although it
didn't take up much of my time, it was kind of pointless.
After: Although I spent little time on the news, it took away a bit of
digital declutter. I believe that it is important to be informed about
current events, but I would eventually hear about these events from my
family or my classmates. It wasn't necessary to search them up.
Even if we all use similar websites, I know that everyone's digital life is
unique. Is technology holding you back from what you want your life to be?
Remember that unhappiness happens when our expectations in life doesn't
align with what actually happens in life, and you have some control over
that when it comes to technology. Practice mindful curiosity. Think of what
you feel when you consume lots of digital media. It is not enough to know
something is bad for you. Once you connect that experience with what you
felt (physically, emotionally, mentally), then it is a lot easier to end a
bad habit.Vivian Hir is a high school student who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her blogs can be found here. Constructive feedback is appreciated.