I am trying to be a digital minimalist and GDPR mania is helping.

I am trying to be a digital minimalist and GDPR mania is helping.

No Sidebar defined digital minimalism as

“a mindset of questioning which digital communication tools are necessary for your happiness. Whether it be email, social media, or general internet consumption, the purpose of this philosophy is to question whether or not they add value to your life”

An excess of digital noise and clutter can complicate your life just as much and I personally in today’s day and age I think more and more so than the physical clutter!

Anxiety from information overload is on the rise.  Lately I have noticed that I am instantly irritated or bothered by the sound of a notification for an email or message (even if I have changed that tone to a sweet twittering birdie).  Do you find the ping irritating?    The good news is that I am finding that it is quite simple to take steps to reduce it.

Here are some of the things I have been trying that you could give a go too;


  • Shiny object syndrome, we have all fallen fate to it. Do you know what I do if I am online and really feel I want to enter a competition or gain access to a freebie?  I will sign up, get the thing and then straight away consider unsubscribing.  Yes straight away!  Usually I will browse the website first and if I see true value that might come from handing over my email address I will stay signed up otherwise I will unsubscribe almost instantly while I am thinking about it.  If an email newsletter is not bringing you value, the next time that email hits your inbox, don’t just scroll past or delete, unsubscribe!  Your needs change over time and it is OK to unsubscribe from something you no longer want or need. For example when your youngest child is 8 years old you likely don’t need to still subscribe to Baby news.
  • Check out unrollme a useful tool to help take back control
  • GDPR is an absolute blessing if you are wanting to take action on this.  You will be getting inundated with emails from all the ‘things’ this week.  Please don’t just delete those emails because you are overwhelmed, scan through, find the unsubscribe button and just clear that stuff out of there!  If you need to, create a rule and move them all to one folder so you can work through them when you have a bit more time.  GDPR mania is a great opportunity to actively take control of your subscriptions.

Remove social media apps from your phone.

  • I have found that if they are not right there in your face/pocket/purse and at your fingertips you will find you are less likely to turn to them as a ‘boredom buster’ and might just find yourself getting around to those other (physical) clutter busting tasks.  It could even improve your relationships if you are forced to actually talk to one another.  I used to spend hours lost on Pinterest ‘working’ and ‘researching’ until I removed it from my phone.
  • If that sounds too hard, then turn off all the alerts so that interrupting pings or red flags are no longer calling for attention.
  • Seek balance in the online and physical worlds. Have a mental list of ideas ready of all the things you could do instead, here are some suggestions
    • Do some stretches or do simple deep breathing (6 is supposedly the ideal magic number)
    • Take a walk
    • Call someone for an actual conversation
    • Write in a journal
    • Try some meditation, Spotify has a ton of guided sessions to choose from
    • My personal favourite is to simply show my two furry office assistants some love.

Block it

  • Got an assignment due? A blog to write? Try an internet blocker like Freedom.  Freedom is an app you can install on your laptop, tablet or smartphone. When active, it will block access to any website you tell it to so you can give more of your attention to something important.
  • If you’re a bit of a greenie you might like Forest , it provides an interesting solution to beat your phone addiction. You can plant a seed in Forest. In the following time, this seed will gradually grow into a tree. However, if you cannot resist the temptation and leave the Forest app to check Facebook or play a game, your tree will wither away

Set some boundaries

  • Just because the big bad web is always ON, it doesn’t mean that you or for many of us our business needs to be ‘on’ too. It is not realistic for clients/readers or even friends and family to expect you to be checking email, messenger or social media 24/7, responding to messages immediately.  Nor should I put this expectation on myself.  I am old enough to remember the days pre smartphone when I was unavailable, unreachable and  ‘OFF’ from the time I left the office building until the time I returned the next day.  Projects still got completed, customer enquiries were answered and all reasonable expectations met.  The good old days indeed!
  • Schedule set windows of time to respond to emails and messages
  • For the home office workers consider turning off the modem for the weekend – take a designated digital detox (or a circa 1999 ‘actual’ weekend), shock horror!

Here are 25 more ideas from Becoming Minimalist to help reduce digital clutter 

What about photos?  As photo organisers we want you to be able to manage and curate your photo collection.  So the fewer photos you take in the first place the easier it will be to do that.  I have a very sound and reasonable number of photos on my phone right now, 168.  A low number that I am often proud to promote, until I remember we used to take rolls of film with between 24-36 shots available!!! Then my mind boggles and my 168 doesn’t sounds nearly as great.

So next time you are about to hit the ‘shoot’  button stop and think would you take the photo if you only had 36 exposures on the roll?  Join us for our next blog when we talk about how you can take fewer photos in the moment.  Until then

Have a magical day


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