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The only way to start (and stick) to digital quarantine (aka declutter or detox)!

7 minute Quick Read.  







Japanese Olympic player addicted to mobile games raked up 5000 $ (close to 4 Lac Indian Rs) bill and another player played Pokémon at night, overslept and missed his Olympic game altogether. 
It’s not peculiar to Japanese. Technology addiction is not only common but also play a harmful role in our life. 
A quick Google search shows many tips and techniques to get rid of addictive games, social media, and new technology. 
Cal Newport, an author of digital minimalism, claims that such quick fixes don’t work. 
He performed a live experiment. He mailed for voluntary participation to subscribers of his blog. He anticipated 50 to 100 responses. He was flooded with 1600 volunteers. The event made national news. 
Through experiment & careful study, the author came with a concrete way to address addiction. 
Your technology addiction plus a strong billion of investment pull by big tech firms make it almost impossible to get rid of. So if you really want to escape from the clutches, – quick fixes and tips don’t work.  Book suggests radical suggestions in three steps. 
Step #1: 

Decide optional technology. Optional technology doesn’t impact work or personal life. Thus work-email is not optional – it is a necessity. So what-ever distracts you but not vital for personal or professional life is optional. Games, Television is optional, a microwave isn’t. WhatsApp is optional if it is a personal tool. But it is used for sales calls, then not.  
Step #2 

Take a 30 days break from technology!  Yes, you read it correctly. The author advises 30 days complete break from optional technologies. If it is not possible in some areas, then the workaround is ok. But take a break from all distractions.  First one or two weeks you may find it difficult, but then you will realize the futility of clinging to them. 
Another important thing is to find engaging and satisfying activities for you. You may want to learn music, read books, play with your kids or walk with your spouse holding hands. Just find and cultivate quality better alternatives in life. Alternatives that make your life rich in quality. 
Step #3 

After 30 days, slowly add the necessary technology back in life. But don’t do it like typical detox. In typical detox, people fully indulge in it. In 30days most people lose their taste in technology. He provides three key questions to ask before adding technology back in life.  
  1. 1The first check is necessary. For instance, one interested in political news turns to allsides.org. Or instead of doing networking online, you can start doing it in the real physical world. If still, you find that the technology then three questions are – 
  2. First Question – is this technology support the value that I want to nurture in life. For example –if you value learning or value spending quality time with family, will this technology help?
  3. Second Question – is this the best way to nurture that value? Is there an alternative? For example, instead of keeping in touch on messages, you may want to call or meet your contacts in person occasionally – which is a more satisfying and meaningful option. 
  4. Third Questionset boundaries – how will you use this technology in day to day life. For example, you may decide to use Facebook only on weekends, or LinkedIn only 30 minutes per day. Thus even if necessary, set strict rules for using technology.   

These three steps, and three questions – help us not only to get rid of technology addiction but bring meaning and satisfaction in life. 
One doesn’t need to sacrifice lovely relationships, miss important events/presentations or meetings nor waste huge money owing to addiction.  You just need to start somewhere, so to start with, let’s first decide a 30-day break from the technology!
[This is my take or review of Chapter 3 of Cal Newport’s digital Minimalism

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