Fri. Jan 21st, 2022

Muting notifications can be a bit uncomfortable: what if you miss something important? But most of the people I’ve talked to have said the same thing about this concern: Those who need to go to you will know how to do it, whether by text or phone call. Your mental health and attention will thank you.

Celebrate Digital Cleanup January. If you feel ambitious, take a page from my colleague Tate Ryan-Mosley, the reporter for Digital Rights and Democracy. She will celebrate her fourth annual Digital Cleanup in January, where she spent four weeks cleaning up every part of her digital life: email, files, security and phone.

Here’s how it works:

Inside Week 1, Tate makes a “massive cleanup” of her emails, unsubscribes from newsletters and other lists that don’t serve her and deletes emails she’s never read. She spends a day reaching out to people who have emailed her and to whom she has not yet responded. The New Year is a wonderful time to rekindle those connections and allow Tate to start new conversations with his caring people.

Week 2 Dedicated to file organization: Clean up files on the cloud, desktop and any drive and place them where they are. “This is my favorite week,” Tate said. “But at the end of it all, you feel like you’ve done something.” Tate’s advice? Do not organize files by date, but by general category. And consider the file agency as the real work, because it is. “I’ll do it on work breaks if I’m waiting for a meeting, or set aside an hour and listen to music and really do it,” he says.

Week 3 Tate’s digital cleanup is dedicated to security. He went through each sensitive personal account and created new unique passwords with the help of Password Manager LastPass. Tate also used Google this week to get rid of sensitive information like his personal phone number and address, which may have been floating on the Internet. Tate swears by the New York Times Guide to docking herself, Found here, Which provides clear instructions on how to protect your personal information online.

Week 4 The funniest, according to Tate. She spent this week cleaning up the backlog of photos on her phone, deleting apps that didn’t serve her, and rebuilding the home screen. “The nice thing is I don’t have to be at my desk to do this,” she says. “Maybe I’m waiting in line or watching TV.” Tate takes time this week to close his notifications (see above).

For Tate, digital cleanup January is not necessarily fun. What is the resolution? But when the calendar turns into February, he has achieved a ton. “I feel very good for the rest of the year,” he says. “And in December, I can’t wait to take care of all this again. I like how I feel later. ”

After all, remember there is a whole world outside of technology. At one point, people don’t put their necks on their phones, practicing that particular thumb flick of scrolling social media endlessly. Some read books. Others have chatted with people around them অথবা or just zoned out for a while.

Cal Newport, a professor of computer science at Georgetown University, strongly supports reforming your relationship with technology, especially when it is not really necessary. “It’s helpful when you move technology towards the important things,” he says. “This can be a problem when you use it as the default distraction from unpleasant thoughts or experiences.” So put down the phone and feel those emotions, even if they are boredom, sadness or anxiety. It can make you feel a little more humane again.

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