Top 6 Tools for Digital Minimalism in 2021

December 24, 2020
Our screen time has gone way up this year, making digital minimalism more important than ever. A Fuego UX, minimal, simple, and clean experiences are a core tenet of our approach to design. Unfortunately the internet of today can make keeping things simple a real challenge, as companies are incentivized to keep you scrolling, clicking ads, and logging in to capture your data.

Here are the top tools and methods to protect your time and “Marie Kondo” your digital browsing experience:

#1 uBlock Origin

Bye-bye ads.

Ads are extremely annoying. Digital ads slow down page load times, clutter articles and other experiences, and drive regrettable purchases. The good news is you don’t have to see them ever again. uBlock Origin is one of the most powerful ad blockers on the market (it even blocks YouTube ads!). An ad-free browsing experience is a true game changer and is the best place to start in your digital minimalism makeover.

#2 Quiet for Gmail

Achieve work/life balance, by temporarily blocking work.

If you have a boss or team that likes to email late at night, this tool is essential for work/life balance. Quiet allows Android users (I wish it was on iPhone too) to pause notifications from selected inboxes during certain hours of the day. This brings a quiet respite during evening hours when work can wait until the next day.

#3 Screen Time or Digital Wellbeing

Forced automatic reminders and app blockers.

These tools from Apple and Google display usage analytics and insights on a dashboard to show how often you are using your devices. They allow you to set reminders when your screen time has gone past your predetermined limits. They also allow you to place restrictions on certain apps and activities.

#4 Turn off your phone weekly on Sundays.

Really tho, turn it off.

By turning off your phone for a day, you will be shocked at what you find yourself doing after the fear of reaching for the phone subsides. I went on a cleaning spree, a hike, and cooked a real, respectable meal.

#5 Flux or Night Shift

Save your eyes.

These tools dim your screen and help block harmful blue light. In addition to being easier on your eyes, it reminds you that you are spending a lot of time online and can bring about awareness of device usage.

#6 News Feed Eradicator

Alternatively, delete social media.

The most impactful thing I’ve done for my digital minimalism journey, and arguably my mental health overall, was deleting Facebook 5 years ago. If you aren’t ready to make that leap, you still have the power of making social media less addictive. Feed blockers block the endless scroll of feed content that is designed to keep you engaged. Keep your Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter feeds blocked, while still remaining connected with friends and colleagues.

Other Tools and Strategies:

The above are my favorite ways of approaching digital minimalism. But people use devices and the internet in many different ways. Here are some other ideas to consider:

-Use grayscale in screen settings.

-Use different devices for work and personal.

-Utilize Airplane Mode or turn off notifications.

-Block certain sites.

-Set limits in Slack for when you can be messaged.

-Place your devices out of reach.

-Delete addictive apps.

-Put your phone on silent mode.

This has been a challenging year and one that has led to an increase in screen time for many. By replacing excessive screen time with routine walks outside, exercise, and reading, you can place limitations on the devices we all rely on for modern day work and life.

Alex Smith is the Co-founder at Fuego UX and has a passion for all things minimalism.