The Pros and Cons of Digital Minimalism 

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Tired of Doom Scrolling

Most Days I would spend hours browsing Instagram and Youtube and I would notice how the content I see and engage with would affect my mood for the whole day. Picking the book “Digital Minimalism” by Cal Newport helped me reflect on this doom scrolling habit.

In this article, I will share my learnings from Digital Minimalism and list its pros and cons:

What is Digital Minimalism

Before dwelling on the pros and cons of Digital Minimalism, let’s look at its definition as stated by the author:

Digital minimalism is a philosophy of technology use in which one focuses on their online time in a small number of carefully selected activities that strongly support the things one values and then happily miss out on everything else.”

The book also details out on the three following principles:

1. Optimization is Key- In order to extract the full benefit of a particular technology, we must be careful how to use this technology

2. Clutter costs a lot – too much time on devices and apps can suck one’s energy and attention span, in turn causing a negative impact on the user’s mind.

3. Intentional usage is important- Digital minimalists tend to be more intentional with their use of technology which makes them happier in the long run

Pros of Digital Minimalism

  • Optimising your time online

    Apps and devices are designed to be addicting and it’s easy to waste time on mindless scrolling. But Digital Minimalism has taught me to not only limit the time I spend on devices, but to use my time on devices with clarity on my intentions such as self-development, learning new skills or catching up with a friend.
  • Can help Improve Mental Health

    Spending too much time on Social Media can be a sort of escape from the day to day. With limiting time online, you spend more time with introspection and thought patterns that you would otherwise not think of when being bombarded by plenty of online distractions.
  • Can help improve relationships

    Newport talks about how most of us are veering more towards low-quality interactions such as texting/chatting instead of high quality interactions such as conversing with a loved one that involves social cues. Digital minimalism veers for us to engage more with high quality interactions and become more mindful and caring for those around us.

Cons of Digital Minimalism

  • Decluttering Can Be Difficult

    The declutter process can be difficult for some especially if the solution is to get rid of all of it in one go. The user involved should have a clear idea of their values when proceeding with decluttering digitally.

    To paint a better picture when decluttering; My first thought process then was listing my values which are still my priorities to this day: connection, curiosity and excellence. This means I value spending time with reaching out and talking to people I care for and ongoing learning.
  • The Practice Can Be Lonesome.

    Pursuing Digital Minimalism means spending most of the time in your head and getting rid of the clutter in your mind. This lone path can cause discomfort from disconnection.


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