Digital Minimalism with Cal Newport

Today’s show is about distraction. Tech can be our best friend and worst enemy. Our devices are no longer normal telephones. They’ve become our constant companions. Texts, emails, social media and loads of content compete for our attention every hour of the day. We are more distracted and overwhelmed than ever before. It not only affects our work life but can do irreparable damage to our family life as well. Will our kids grow up missing their parents who are always on their phone?

Cal Newport is a bestselling author and the father of three boys. You won’t find him on any social media, because he doesn’t have any. He the author of six books, including, most recently, the New York Times bestseller, Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World.

Cal is going to tells us how tech is engineered to keep us on our phones and steal time away from our lives. He also talks about how it affects our memory and anxiety levels. Cal teaches us what boundaries to set for screen time with our kids and gives us a 30-Day plan to step away from tech and rebuild our digital lives in a way that serves us.

Don’t waste another minute being distracted from the things that are most important to you.

If you demonstrate to your kids that you’re always on the phone, there is damage from that.


Cal Newport and Digital Minimalism

Minimalism is the art of knowing how much is just enough. Digital minimalism applies this idea to our personal technology. It’s the key to living a focused life in an increasingly noisy world.

Digital minimalists are all around us. They’re the calm, happy people who can hold long conversations without furtive glances at their phones. They can get lost in a good book, a woodworking project, or a leisurely morning run. They can have fun with friends and family without the obsessive urge to document the experience. They stay informed about the news of the day, but don’t feel overwhelmed by it. They don’t experience “fear of missing out” because they already know which activities provide them meaning and satisfaction.

Common sense tips, like turning off notifications, or occasional rituals like observing a digital sabbath, don’t go far enough in helping us take back control of our technological lives, and attempts to unplug completely are complicated by the demands of family, friends and work.

Cal Newport shows how digital minimalists are rethinking their relationship to social media, rediscovering the pleasures of the offline world, and reconnecting with their inner selves through regular periods of solitude. He then shares strategies for integrating these practices into your life, starting with a thirty-day “digital declutter” process that has already helped thousands feel less overwhelmed and more in control.

Technology is intrinsically neither good nor bad. The key is using it to support your goals and values, rather than letting it use you.


It was much more recently than we remember that we were reprogrammed into a relationship with our phone where we look at it all the time.

What You’ll Learn

  • The unintentional consequences of technology in the workplace, and the scarier and more impactful consequences to our personal lives
  • How the smartphone of today was not what Steve Jobs had intended
  • How today’s internet culture is the outcome of business model (Facebook) to reengineer apps so that people want to take their phone out of their pockets all the time.
  • How as our economy shifts toward knowledge work, one of the most important skills is to concentrate and any company who makes focus a priority will have the upper hand
  • Preserving and practicing the ability to concentrate
  • What constant screen time does to our memory
  • How screen time affects our ability to do spatial location
  • How it affects our ability to concentrate even when we’re not on the internet
  • How tech deprives us of insights and self-reflection
  • What it does to our anxiety levels
  • How solitude is a maintenance mode for our brain
  • How up until 10 years ago, we had many moments alone with our own thoughts
  • Your brain can always be processing info from other minds
  • Our hardware is not equipped to handle the constant processing of information from other minds
  • To extract insight from content for your own life, you need time to think about the information
  • How setting a 1 to 1 ratio of content intake to contemplation to extract 5X more value
  • Is there an ideal number of minutes per day of screen time?
  • Breaking the idea that the phone is what you do when you don’t have anything to do
  • The digital minimalism philosophy
  • Using tech only for big wins on what you really care about
  • Why maximalism is not a winning path
  • Why it’s much better to deal with the problem of your kid being mad for not being allowed to have a phone rather than him being up till 4am playing Fortnite
  • Why boys are more susceptible to game addiction
  • Why girls are more susceptible with social media, leading to self-harm and suicide
  • Why teenagers should not get cell phones
  • The “phone foyer” method
  • What can parents do when their kids will not get off the phone
  • Teaching kids how to build a good day instead of using the phone
  • Teaching them high friction activities, like mastering an instrument or sport
  • Cal Newport’s 30-Day Plan to digital minimalism
  • Examples of what kind of apps serve you and which do not
  • The leisure renaissance that makes it easier to participate in high quality activities
  • Simplest thing to do take all apps off the phone. Don’t save your passwords. Use your computer a designated time
  • Leaving a legacy, memories, experiences by putting the phones down
  • Cal Newport’s upcoming book, A World Without Email


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