Books Insights Non-Fiction Personal Development

Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport | Book Review + Notes [Part 4: So Anong Dapat Gawin?]

Nung nag-start akong basahin ‘to, ang gusto ko lang talagang mangyari is mawala yung uncontrollable urge ko to always check my phone. Pero ang dami kong nakuha sa book na ‘to.

Sobrang necessary na diniscuss muna sa book lahat. It started with identifying the addictive behaviors, the reason behind it, and pano sya dapat i-approach which is yung strategies and principles. And eto na yung time para i-introduce naman yung concrete steps on how to start. From Paleolithic brains to economics, at this point, gets na gets ko na talaga. Parang hindi ko na kelangan ng further explanation. I’m sold!

Very important na maintindihan munang mabuti yung mga diniscuss before this para kapag gagawin ko na yung ‘digital declutter’, mas strong yung reason bakit ko ‘to ginagawa. Mas may conviction behind it. Which makes it more doable and sustainable.

The Digital Declutter Process

Nung 2017, the author made a study and asked for volunteers to attempt a digital declutter. So may mga nauna na satin. After reviewing hundreds of reports, he reached two conlusions:

  1. It works
  2. It’s tricky

Based from the experiment, yung mga participants na nag-struggle and hindi successful, eto yung mga mistakes nila:

• Technology restriction rules were either too vague or too strict

• Not planning what to replace these technologies with during the declutter period—leading to anxiety and boredom

• Those who treated this experiment purely as detox, where the goal was to simply take a break from their digital life before returning to business as usual

So I think it’s beneficial to think of this declutter as a long-term thing prior starting. Na eto na yung magiging lifestyle mo even after matapos yung 30 days.

And ang isa din na gustong i-prove ng experiment na ‘to is, once you take a break from these technologies, yes it will be challenging at first. But after a week or two, you will start to realize how they’re not adding anything to your life and how you can still go on with your daily life without them.

Brooke described this experience as follows:

The first few days were surprisingly hard. My addictive habits were revealed in striking clarity. Moments of waiting in line, moments between activities, moments of boredom, moments I ached to check in on my favorite people, moments I wanted an escape, moments I just wanted to “look something up,” moments I just needed some diversion: I’d reach for my phone and then remember that everything was gone.

But then things got better. “As time wore on, the detox symptoms wore off and I began to forget about my phone,” she explained.

Based from step #1, take a break from optional technologies daw. According sa book, ‘optional technologies’ is described as:

…consider the technology optional unless its temporary removal would harm or significantly disrupt the daily operation of your professional or personal life.

I listed yung mga optimizations na naisip ko sa previous post ko and the author suggested to put it somewhere where I’ll see it everyday.

I also added Youtube under banned

Also, I listed yung mga activities that would replace the optional technologies.

Eto yung mga example experiences ng mga participants na successful sa experiment:

A graduate student named Unaiza was spending her evenings browsing Reddit. During her declutter, she redirected this time toward reading books that she borrowed from both her school and local library. “I finished eight and a half books that month,” she told me. “I could never have thought about doing that before.”

Kushboo finished five books during his declutter. This was a big deal for him, as these were the first books he had read voluntarily in over three years. He also restarted his once cherished painting and computer coding hobbies. “I loved these activities,” he explained, “but I stopped doing them once I started school because I thought I didn’t have enough time.”

Caleb’s search for intentional analog activities led him to start journaling and reading before bed every night. He also started listening to records on a record player, from beginning to end, with no earbuds in his ears or skip buttons to tap when antsy—which turns out to be a much richer experience than Caleb’s normal habit of firing up Spotify and seeking out the perfect track.

During his declutter he rediscovered the satisfaction of spending real time with his boys instead of just spending time near them with his eyes on the screen. He noted how surreal it can feel to be the only parent at the playground who is not looking down.

And lastly.

Brooke captures well the experience many reported about their monthlong declutter when she told me: “Stepping away for thirty-one days provided clarity I didn’t know I was missing. . . . As I stand here now from the outside looking in, I see there is so much more the world has to offer!”

So after 30 days, what now? Eto na yung time that you will reintroduce the ‘optional technologies’, but it doesn’t mean all of them will make the cut. It should pass your now strict minimalist standards.

Eto daw yung screening questions to allow an optional technology back into your life:

  1. Does it serve something I deeply value? (kung some value lang, it’s not enough)
  2. Is this the best app/technology to serve this value? (kung hindi, replace it with something better)
  3. Etong last is not a question but importante daw na every optional technology that you reintroduce will have a “standard operating procedure” kung kelan and pano or gano katagal mo sya gagamitin

Bago ako matapos sa four-part series nitong Digital Minimalism post ko (actually baka 5 parts kasi I’ll share the results after the end of the month or kung bibigay ba ko before end of month), eto naman yung examples on how the participants reintroduced their optional technologies and how some replaced it with something they believe is better.

A digital advertiser named Ilona, for example, set up a regular schedule for calling and texting her friends. “In the end, I just accepted the fact that I would miss some events in their lives, but that this was worthwhile for the mental energy it would save me to not be on social media.”


Abby removed the web browser from her phone. “I figured I didn’t need to know the answer to everything instantly,” she told me. She then bought an old-fashioned notebook to jot down ideas when she’s bored on the tube.

These examples are helpful in thinking of ideas on how I can implement these strategies that will suit my own life.

Isingit ko na rin yung maganda kong napakinggan sa isang podcast. Naalala ko because of the last example na, “I figured I didn’t need to know the answer to everything instantly.” May episode kasi ang Wake Up with Jim and Saab where they interviewed Jim’s dad and he said this about delayed/instant gratification:

My generation didn’t have much information. We didn’t have an abundance of things. So there’s really a training of delayed gratification. Our choices were few. And we were trained to be tenacious. There was no such thing as, “Can I have this phone?” And then you’ll get it on the afternoon. 

Wake Up with Jim and Saab [Ep 133]

As of now, 23% pa lang ako sa book and grabe na yung knowledge na nakuha ko. Feeling ko enough na ‘to para magbago yung bad habits ko towards technology. The next chapters discuss practices to strengthen the Digital Minimalism philosophy pero titigil na muna ako dito.

Good luck talaga sakin.


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