When I saw her name on the display, I picked up the phone and thought something must have happened.
Yes. Hello. How are you? Is everything alright?
Yes sure. I thought I’d give you a call.
Great. Just … eh … a little surprising?
Yes, sorry. I am reading ‘Digital Minimalism’.
Ah, that’s why.
The rest of the conversation was really lovely.
With a friend, I hadn’t spoken to in over 10 years.
A very busy friend, commuting between countries, not cities.
Whom I would trust with my life.
Who I would phone in my darkest hours.
But otherwise, just exchange WhatsApp messages.
Hence my moment of panic.
Inspired by the book, she wanted to declutter her digital life.
Refocus her attention on what truly matters.
Having real conversations. To intentionally choose whom she engages with.
I am happy she chose me.
However, what would have happened to us without mobile phones and WhatsApp during these busy years with work and family life abroad?
Allowing us to exchange messages in the blink of an eye. Sharing pictures of precious moments. And funny things knowing that no one else would laugh as much.
She might not have phoned if we hadn’t had that to stay connected no matter what.
When we left uni and started living in many different countries, we wrote each other letters. By hand. Then really long emails. That feels like a lifetime ago.
We couldn’t keep that up. Times have changed.
So yes, ‘Digital Minimalism’ by Cal Newport is a book I would recommend.
Even more in 2023, when we were all hit by a new wave of AI tools, consuming more of our time, attention and authenticity on top of social media.
But I am also grateful to have all the big and small opportunities tech provides us with.
My friend and I might try the odd Zoom call next.
A balanced choice is something I stand for, in my private life and when creating client websites
The meaningful use of WhatsApp has helped me to keep a valuable friendship alive. Something that Newport’s book is also about.
How do you align your Work-Life-Tech-Balance?