As I have been reviewing the digital spaces and places where I exist, I realized that things were getting a bit messy.
I share 3 to 6 links out on social media everyday. I blog on my main website, and share a weekly newsletter. The newsletter began as a synthesis of the top links I shared each week, but it has expanded since those early issues. It now provides a weekly retrospective of the what, why, and how of a week in the screentime age.
I help maintain the website for the LiD 6-12 (Literacy in the Disciplines, Grades 6-12) group that we started up in the state. I also started up the website for the Screentime Research Group, but that has strangely collected dust as we figure out how to live through COVID. I recently rebooted the WalkMyWorld Project, and as such…that is another website that has been busy.
Needless to say, I may have a problem.
KonMari is a decluttering and organizing system that promises nothing less than improvements in every aspect of your life. Adherents take all their worldly belongings, put them in a pile, hold up each one, and ask themselves if it sparks joy. If it does not, they thank the item and get rid of it; if it does, they put it away in an orderly fashion.
I know, you may be saying…the KonMari process, that is sooo 2020. Yes, but 2020 was also sooo 2020. So, here we are. 🙂
Now, go through each one, give it a good look and ask the only question that matters: does it spark joy? This is the crux of Kondo’s tidying philosophy. Not “do I use it?”, not “might I need it?”, just “does this actually make me feel good?” If it doesn’t, get rid of it. I know it feels like an awkward prompt….just go with it.
We just bought a house, and are in the process of minimizing, packing, and moving. We’ve been reviewing a lot of the clutter in our lives. I’ve also been thinking about my own digital spaces, places, and practices.
What this means in digital spaces
The process is simple. You go through each of your possessions, places, and practices. You ask yourself what you gain from this part of your digital life. Does this improve your life? Does this make you a better person? Does this bring you joy?
There’s a lot of stuff on your computer that doesn’t bring you joy. If you adjust your thinking, though, you’ll see that this method still works. Well-organized, tidied files will save you time when you need to find things, and that prevents frustration. Better access to the things that you need or love will make you happier.
When you look at your digital social spaces, ask yourself whether they spark joy. Do they improve your life? Do they make you happier?
If not, why are you using them? Going through this process will help keep things that make you happy, while are also meaningful and useful. I’ve been having this discussion a lot with my partner about our use of Facebook. Does it make us happy? Nope. Why do we use it? Not sure. 🤷
Tidying up my digital feeds & signals
Here’s some of my guidelines for kondoing my digital spaces.
Does this bring you joy? What do you get out of your use of this social network? What role does this app play in your life? Do you still use this app or service? If not, get rid of it.
Eliminate the waste in the system. Purging feels so good. More isn’t better. Clutter is a waste. Believe me, it is also really hard to really delete something. Want to delete that social media account, it’ll usually take a ton of steps to remove your content and delete the account. Archive all of your emails. Organize and archive your files to some long-term storage in case you believe you’ll need them one day.
Trust the process. Have a system in place for all that you do. Develop the system. Trust the system. Use the system. For me, this could be a simple system like what I’ll do when I find a post online that I want to bookmark. I know the tools, practices, and policies in place to make sure things don’t get messy.
Simple is best. Keep it simple. I’ve tested out several systems that sound great, but I don’t have time in the day to make it work. If the system is too complex, I’ll grow tired of it and give up. I try to use tools & practices that are lightweight, and I can make happen with a couple of swipes on the mobile device or clicks of the keyboard.
Audit, edit, review, iterate. Don’t be afraid to review and revise your system over time. But, make sure you actually start using your systems. Once you’ve used it for a couple of weeks/months, review and revise. Eliminate the clunk or waste in the system
My system…for now…
I took a break from my digital, social practices in the month of August, and since that point, I’ve been in the process of tidying up my digital identities, spaces, and tools.
I’m stuck between wanting to share my own content, as opposed to amplifying content of others. The challenge is that I’ve noticed many of the social networks privilege the content and links you share from others. I’m thinking the algorithms pick up on content that you’re sharing…that others have shared. These signals it amplifies and sends to more users.
For now, I’ve been posting less content to social networks.
I wanted to have a public, digital commonplace book. I affectionately referred to this as my breadcrumbs website. I realized that my systems were too complex, and I wasn’t using the systems. In addition, I started to have trolls reaching out to argue about some of the bookmarks I saved.
For now, I’m back to using Pinboard to save and share all bookmarks. You can see and follow all of the things I’m reading online. I’m researching ways to integrate this into my website and other systems.
I’m in the process of revising my practices for note-taking. I primarily use Google Docs for all of my writing. I don’t like that and have slowly started to de-Google my workflow. More to come on that initiative.
For the time being, I’ve been using Joplin, an open-source note-taking app for all idea generation. I use it to write my newsletter in Markdown. It’s easy to copy/paste to my newsletter when it’s done. I’m switching up some things behind the scenes on the newsletter. More to come on that as well.
I’m also slowly starting to use it to write my blog posts. That process hasn’t been as smooth as I’d like. I still find it easier to write in WordPress. As a teacher of writing…I’d rather type up rough copies, copy/paste to WordPress, and archive the rough drafts. But…only so much time in the day.
I’m also trying to use Joplin for note-taking and knowledge construction. More info on that soon as well.
With this post, I will have completed the #100DaysToOffload challenge. I started the challenge after my break from digital, social spaces in the summer of 2020. When I returned, I decided that I wanted to share less, and examine the tools I used. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with this blog…so I just used it.
I wrote for over 100 days, and regularly just wrote for myself, and perhaps others. As I write, I realize I want to write more. I’m slowly continuing to find my voice. So…I’ll keep writing.
What brings you joy?
What role do digital spaces and places have in your life? Do these spaces bring you joy? Do they make you happy?
Please let me know your thoughts.