Slot Machines That Fit in Your Pocket

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Good morning!

I promise all my readers at least one good book recommendation per week, and this is it!

But first, a shout-out to Mandy (a reader of mine) to thank her for a VERY nice comment she left on my latest article for about the Paradox of Choice.

Thanks, Mandy, for the kind words!

The article itself is about the proliferation of choices in all of our lives, how we are constantly forced to choose (not deciding is a choice), and some of the considerations we have to make when we’re deciding where we want our lives to go.

It sounds like a “Deadly Serious Essay”, but I’m not exactly a “serious” person, so even though it’s a big, complicated topic, I tried to turn it into something not so scary or intimidating. You might even laugh a few times!

You can check out the article here: The Paradox of Choice

Today’s book is all about de-cluttering our digital lives, and making sure we get the maximum benefit from social media without having it take over our entire lives.

A sample of my notes is below, and then we’ll get into a little discussion.

So, let’s get started!

Today’s Book on Amazon: Digital Minimalism, by Cal Newport

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When attempting to digitally de-clutter, an ad hoc approach isn’t going to work. You need a digital philosophy, a set of personal rules that govern your interactions with technology and that help you say no.

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An iPhone is a slot machine that fits in your pocket

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The signal on social media apps for when you have a notification is red, an alarm color

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One of the people who first developed the Facebook “Like” button now hires a social media agency to handle her business Facebook account because she doesn’t want to be exposed to the temptations of the app

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Confront the trade-offs in your digital life directly, and see whether the time spent online is bringing you adequate value for the hours of your irreplaceable life that you spend on there

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Solitude is about what’s happening inside your brain, not about what’s happening around you

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The only other thing that increased dramatically around the time when anxiety levels skyrocketed in America (2007-ish) is the ubiquitous use of smartphones

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The constant presence of a cell phone only makes your life marginally more convenient, not taking into account any of the obvious drawbacks

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The urgency of going a few hours without our phones is usually exaggerated

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Facebook and Instagram are sort of “social fast food” that can never replace organic social interactions

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When financially independent people, or anyone else for that matter, are presented with large amounts of leisure time, they often voluntarily fill these hours with strenuous activity

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I’m fanatical about time. People who know me personally might laugh, because I’m always late for stuff, but I’m not interested in wasting a single minute of my one and only life.

Facebook, Instagram, all these things, they’re great…but when they step over the line and STEAL MY LIFE, then I have to draw an even sharper line in the proverbial sand.

That’s what Cal Newport’s book, Digital Minimalism, is all about.

Five minutes here, fifteen minutes there, an hour there; everything adds up, and when people look back on the time they’re spending on these apps and their smartphones in general, shock and disbelief are reasonable reactions, followed closely by shame and guilt and mind existential despair.

A few paragraphs ago I said I was fanatical about time, and I am, but I still waste so much of it. My advice, if I can be so bold, is to starting TRACKING how much time you waste each day. You can do it simply, or you can complicate it, but what works for me is to add up how many minutes I think I’ve “wasted” at the end of each hour and write down that number.

Then, at the end of the day, I write it down, and add it to the number of wasted minutes lost all throughout the week. For me, it adds up to a shameful figure. I probably waste 2 hours a day, on a good day.

I’m getting better all the time (and I count a LOT of things as wasted time that some people wouldn’t necessarily), but my written record of how I’m doing is a sobering reminder of how much of my life has evaporated into nothingness, never to return, never to be used productively and / or happily.

Two hours a day!

That’s 730 hours every year (at least), and there are SO many better things that I could do with that time. Like read 91 books!

(730 hours / 8 hours per book = 91 books)

Do you want to read 90 more books this year??? I do!!!

Track your wasted minutes. Realize that none of them are coming back to you. Live accordingly.

All the best,

Matt Karamazov

BOOK: Today’s lesson came from Digital Minimalism, by Cal Newport. You can get my notes on this book, as well as my notes on every other book I’ve ever read, by clicking HERE.

MORE: You can sign up to receive even more great book recommendations like this one by clicking here.

JOIN: Check out the fascinating book discussions we have going on over at The Bouncer’s Book Club on Facebook!

LEARN: Do you want to read more books? I’ve created an online course, Hit the Books, that will teach you how to read faster, make more time for reading, understand and remember more of what you read, how to choose what to read, and so much more. You can check it out here.

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