Internet Addiction, Minimalism, and Marie Kondo: A Guide to Digital Detox

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Our internet addiction is getting out of control. Use this Marie Kondo guide to digital detox, and then use Blur and DeleteMe to stay organized and private.

We Have an Internet Addiction- Can Marie Kondo Help?

You’ve probably heard of Marie Kondo’s Netflix show, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, based on her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. You might have even been part of the major wave of people bringing donations to thrift stores. But can her method work in your digital life?

It’s no secret to anyone that we are addicted to technology. According to comScore,

  • Total digital media usage is up 40% since 2013
  • Smartphone usage has doubled in the last 3 years
  • 1 out of every 2 minutes spent online is on “leisure activities”, such as watching videos, entertainment/music, and playing games
  • 1 out of every 5 minutes spent online is on social media
  • The average person spends almost 3 hours per day on their phone

A solution to this that many people have taken is a to do “Digital Detox”–taking time away from your phone and computer to reduce stress and refocus your mind on real relationships and the non-digital world. For some people this just means staying off of social media for a few days, while others go as far as to go away on a Digital Detox Retreat.

Internet Addiction Means You Have Less Privacy

The more addicted you are to tech, the less likely you are to take a step back and think about what kind of data you are giving away when you download apps, shop online, use social media, create accounts, and more.

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You likely already know that websites are monitoring your behavior to improve their website and products, learn about their users/customers, and serve you ads. However, many people are unaware that third party data brokers that are also tracking you, looking to find your location, interests, habits, demographic information, and anything else they can find. Almost every single piece of data about your online life is captured, packaged up and sold to other data brokers, marketing agencies, and others to create a profile about you. Doing a KonMari-style digital detox can help you be more intentional about who can access your information, and clean up what’s out there.

A Marie Kondo Digital Detox

The KonMari method of decluttering your home isn’t really about getting rid of stuff you no longer use. It’s about optimizing your living space to give you the mental space to destress, prioritize your goals, and be happier. This Konmari-styled digital detox will not only help you let go of your addiction, but give you tools to use your technology more wisely: for your mental health, your goals, and your privacy.

1. Commit to Detoxing All at Once.

Before Marie Kondo beings organizing a home, she takes a moment to meditate, connect with the home, and think about the house (and the things in it) as a partner in the process, rather than an adversary to be overcome. She tells people to imagine how they want their life to be, to prevent them from relapsing into mess and dysfunction. You can do the same before your ‘digital declutter’ by taking some time away from your tech to answer these questions:

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  • What are you thankful for that your technology gives you?
  • What are you thankful for that your technology takes away from you?
  • What kind of mindset do you want to achieve?
  • What do you want to spend more time doing?
  • How specifically is your technology taking that time away from you?

2. Set a Time Period for Your Detox

Make a plan based on your goals from Step 1. Just as Marie Kondo commits to decluttering all at once, and then goes one category at a time, you should prepare categories for your detox. In step 3, you will start with decluttering and organizing your files. After that, your plan is up to you: decide how long to detox, what you want to cut out, and so on. This was my plan:

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It’s important to plan activities to do during your detox–you probably have a list of things you’ve been putting off because you “don’t have time”. I especially recommend activities that require a lot of focus, so you will be more present in them instead of thinking about your phone. Just like Marie Kondo, go in order from least to most sentimental, starting with your digital files.

3. Declutter and Organize Your Files

Reorganize your files on your computer. Declutter your desktop, downloads folders, email, and other places that get messy and difficult to find files quickly. Back up important files and make sure they are secure.

Just as Marie Kondo begins with the least sentimental items and works her way towards the most sentimental, we are doing the same with your digital life. Organizing your files will not only begin to help you declutter your digital life, it will also begin to attune your mind to thinking about where you are, and what parts of your technology are really valuable and serving you.

4. Assess Your Digital Detox

What did you learn about the things in your digital life that are actually serving you (i.e., that you missed for practical reasons)? What parts of your digital life spark joy? Make a new plan to keep the benefits of your detox going and regain control of your time, data, and behavior.

It was easy to stay off of my phone after work because I made sure I was busy with yoga classes, friends, and reading.

One very difficult for me was avoiding scrolling on my phone in the morning. I like listening to podcasts or the news while I get ready, so it helped to already choose them the night before to limit the time spent scrolling. I know that if I am strict and turn it into a habit, it will get easier.

Just as Marie Kondo begins with the least sentimental items and works her way towards the most sentimental, we are doing the same with your digital life. Organizing your files will not only begin to help you declutter your digital life, it will also begin to attune your mind to thinking about where you are, and what parts of your technology are really valuable and serving you.

After Your Digital Detox, Declutter Your Digital Footprint with DeleteMe and Blur

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The point of this digital detox isn’t to totally stop using the internet, it’s to make sure you are using the web in ways that serve you and spark joy. The message of Cal Newport’s newest book, Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World, is about “intentionally and aggressively clearing away low-value digital noise, and optimizing your use of the tools that really matter, can significantly improve your life.”

Stay Organized and Secure with Blur

Part of digital minimalism is to make sure you’re not giving away loose bits of data to float around the internet, or waste your time looking up logins and performing password resets. How many annoying marketing emails do you get per day? How often do you forget your passwords for accounts? The best way to organize this is with Blur.

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With Blur, you can easily store and organize all of your login, password, and payment information in one place, leaving you more headspace for what’s important. Even better, Blur will provide you with ‘Masked’ information whenever companies ask for personal information, like email addresses and credit card numbers, so your personal information won’t float around online, and end up in the wrong hands. Finally, Blur will block third-party tracking while you browse the web. Stay organized and secure with Blur.

Your Personal Information Stays Private with DeleteMe

Another thing to consider decluttering is the digital footprint made for you by data brokers. Have you ever Googled yourself and found lots of websites posting your personal information–like your name, age, address, phone number, relatives’ names, and more? Data brokers crawl the web searching for this personal information, and use it to build a profile of you. They find it from government and other public records, self-reported information, social media, and other data brokers.

Having your personal information just a Google search away is scary–it could be used by criminals looking to commit financial fraud, steal your identity, or worse. DeleteMe’s experts will do the hard work remove your information from major data broker sites for you, and monitor them to make sure your information hasn’t been reposted. Stay stress-free with DeleteMe, and regain control of your digital life.

About Abine

Abine, Inc. is The Online Privacy Company. Founded in 2009 by MIT engineers and financial experts, Abine’s mission is to provide easy-to-use online privacy tools and services to everybody who wants them. Abine’s tools are built for consumers to help them control the personal information companies, third parties, and other people see about them online.

DeleteMe by Abine is a hands-free subscription service that removes personal information from public online databases, data brokers, and people search websites.

Blur by Abine is the only password manager and digital wallet that also blocks trackers, and helps users remain private online by providing ‘Masked’ information whenever companies are asking for personal information.

Abine’s solutions have been trusted by over 25 million people worldwide.


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