General,  Minimalism,  Thoughts

#ratherreadthansurf – Digital Minimalism vs. FoMO

I want to have more time. Time for me, for my daughter, my partner and for the beautiful things in life. I would like to read more, do sports, post more often on entsesselt and after Corona also do more with friends and relatives. And I want to finally finish my studies.
The main thing is to work on my fear of missing out (FoMO). It would be great if the minimalism, which I am learning to appreciate more and more, could also be applied to the digital world. I don’t want to be constantly torn out of the flow by my smartphone or get distracted for several hours a day.


You can accompany me here on my attempt. On our Instagram account I will post under the hashtag #lieberlesenstattsurfen (rather read than surf) (and then close the app again immediately !!!). If you feel like it, you are welcome to join and also use the hashtag.
I’m curious how it will be and whether it will work.

The beginning

Hack gegen FoMO: Smartphone mit leerem Startbildschirm

I totally emptied the first page of my home screen. The apps that constantly tempt me to open them to see if there is any news have been moved back a few pages and sorted into subfolders. So far, I have only deleted very few apps completely. Let’s see what other programs I throw off my smartphone.

WhatsApp was allowed to stay because I am in contact with too many people through it, but especially with my partner. However, I put all contacts and groups outside the family on mute for a year.

Day 1: Monday, May 4th, 2020 – without FoMO

The first day without constantly looking at the smartphone is a successful one! It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I think that was mainly due to the fact that I turned off all notifications and was not constantly encouraged to reach for the cell phone.
I had a dentist appointment first thing in the morning. Unfortunately I had to wait longer there. Luckily I had a little book with me, so I really didn’t start rusting through Instagram and Co., but read instead.

Changes after the first day:

In the afternoon, I also deactivated the notifications via my hybrid watch (half wearable / half “normal” watch with pointer), because they kept telling me, first on my watch and then on my mobile phone to watch.

Screen time evaluation:

Day 2: Tuesday, May 5th, 2020 – FoMO goodbye, no notification on the wrist

Just briefly today:

It went pretty well! I have my FoMO under control and again I haven’t let myself be carried away to surf Instagram and / or Pinterest. The browser was also not used to have a quick look ! I checked the e-mails briefly on the computer in the morning, skipped them during the day and then called them up again on the computer – that’s actually enough.

I notice that I am less distracted at work and therefore less stressed.

Unfortunately I only got a short time to read today, but at least. I did something in the household and spent time with my daughter.

Day 3: Wednesday, May 6th, 2020 – unsubscribe from newsletter

I am now trying to get used to checking my e-mails from my computer in the morning and in the evening instead of checking my inbox over and over again during the day. The computer can also be used to reply much more comfortably and quickly → multiple time savings!
Once again I noticed that I only really open a fraction of the emails, because an incredibly large proportion of the incoming messages consist of newsletters or other notifications. These are then repeatedly deleted by me in larger clean-up operations in the package. But why should they bother me at all if I don’t read them at all? These recycle bin actions also cost time and the storage of all the mails costs server space and therefore consumes electricity unnecessarily – so totally unecological!


 Recycle bin on the Apple computer

The first step was to unsubscribe from a bunch of newsletters. I have certainly not caught all of them yet, but that can be continued continuously.
In the next step I will throw away a lot of digital rubbish in the inbox or put it down properly. The goal: an inbox like a mailbox – just filled with the latest mail!

Day 4: Thursday, May 7th, 2020 – borrow digitally instead of owning

It’s so great to finally get rid of all the unused or unnecessary things and keep getting rid of them. I’m still a long way from finished, but I’m already well on the way to reducing my possessions more and more.
Now I would like to have more time to read again … and I manage to do it quite well because I no longer allow myself to be carried away by my FoMO, constantly grabbing my smartphone and letting myself be drawn into some feeds . Books are great. I basically like to own some, but do you have to have books on your shelves if you won’t read them again? And in general the question is whether it has to be printed books at all.

Printed or digital? Own or Borrow?

I like to turn the pages, I like the rustle, I like this analog, but is it really necessary?
I used to have a district library right in the building of my school. I rummaged there many breaks and kept borrowing and devouring new books. When I graduated from high school and went to Hamburg and a few years later to Hanover, lending books was somehow no longer an issue. And then at some point the concept of lending books disappeared from my mind. In all honesty, I didn’t even know where the nearest library was. I just bought books. Some specimens have accumulated over time.
I have finally parted with many of these books. I could sell them or give them away, but I didn’t throw any of them away. I assume that more will disappear from my shelves in the near future if I admit to myself that I won’t read them any more.

Libraries – also online

In recent years I have consumed many books as audio books. That’s really great. In addition, some books are also available as eBooks on my devices. I read it once and now? You lie there. I can’t really lend it or anything, but I certainly won’t read it again. Kind of stupid.
Because I no longer have to own all of the books, I will now borrow them again. This not only saves space, it also saves money. Well, I just don’t have a loan card. Due to Corona, I can’t just get one to borrow books because the libraries are still closed. But to get more information, I went to the website of our city library and found out about the great offer that I can borrow between the seas free of charge until the end of the month via the Onleihe between the seas can borrow eBooks. I did that right away with this title:

The first few pages about minimalism were really promising.

As soon as the libraries reopen, I will get myself a library card again to read books without owning them. I think that’s really great! Ebooks that you can spontaneously download and read and then get rid of. Real books, the pages of which you can hear and feel while leafing through, but for which you don’t have to find a place in the apartment afterwards.

Day 7: Sunday, May 10, 2020 – It’s running …

I haven’t written for a couple of days. I was also a little more sloppy when it came to my reports on Instagram. That was simply because my focus was completely different. I did a lot with my daughter and my partner, played Scrabble and cards, did a little bit in the apartment, … – a lot of completely analogue things.


To be honest, I am quite flashed , which effects even such small changes in smartphone behavior. I was able to cut my screen time by 45% in my first week. My activations, too, and that’s what it was all about because they are also a sign of FoMO (Fear of missing out), have concerned one similar amount reduced. And that, although I always had to check whether I had to reply to a message in a timely manner (that was unfortunately necessary this week), since I had turned off the notification.

What did I get out of it

 Macro shot of the eye of a needle with threaded thread.

In fact, the little experiment gave me noticeably more time. I have repaired one or the other item of clothing that had been lying on a pile for a long time, didn’t postpone housework, managed more in the apartment overall (my plan to part with things and at the same time make it even more beautiful is ongoing continue), played more with my family and most of all I really got into reading more. I was also less stressed at work, which was probably due to the fact that my cell phone didn’t keep me out of focus.
At the end of the week I even revived my old ritual: A quarter to half hour yoga before going to bed.

I will definitely continue to practice this digital minimalism and maybe even reduce my smartphone and computer time even further … Time is simply too valuable to spend it with unproductive or pseudo-productive surfing.

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