Tools to Live a Digital-Only Life
Alexander Webb – The Wandering Writer
It’s often been said that Millennials are less attached to possessions than other generations. Growing up in houses filled with stuff our parents no longer use, we see the value of a more minimalist life. Books like The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up have become widely popular, reinforcing our love for simplicity.
But it’s not always easy to let go of items. One of the best ways to reduce clutter is to prevent it before it starts—by buying less physical possessions. Yet buying fewer things doesn’t have to mean a lower quality life. In fact, by moving to a digital-focused life, we can increase simplicity and productivity all at once, while saving money along the way. Here are some top tips:
iCloud, Dropbox, Box, Google Drive and others allow you to store your files in the cloud. Uploading to the cloud means all your photos, music, and documents are instantly updated, preserved, and protected across all your devices. I once lost a cellphone, but all my photos and files were backed up to the cloud, saving me from lifelong misery of losing my awesome food porn. Devices are replaceable, well-angled shots of a cheese soufflé? Not so much.
Moving everything to the cloud means you can eliminate physical receipts, papers, contracts, photos, and other things that would otherwise clutter your living space. The same thing goes for credit card bills and airplane tickets. Seriously, how many of us still collect every, single receipt obtained at a purchase? Choose digital versions that eliminate the need for physical addresses and printouts.
I love the feel and romance of traditional books. In fact, I still occasionally buy them. But let’s be honest. Books are heavy, and we often don’t read them more than once. Worse, they end up becoming more like decoration pieces than their main purpose! Buying eBooks is often cheaper, easier. I learned this the hard way when I recently moved. I was forced to throw away many great books—I simply didn’t have the space to take them with me. Living a digital-only life with eBooks is not only more portable, it is also more environmentally friendly.
Sell Extra Stuff
It’s never been easier to buy stuff online—but it’s also never been easier to sell them. The days of selling things to strangers on Craigslist are O-V-E-R — apps like Poshmark and Wanelo allow you to list stuff you don’t need, and make some money while you clear out your life. Getting rid of clothes you don’t need will make both travelling, and your day-to-day life, easier and simpler
Become a Digital Nomad
Once you clear unneeded physical possessions from your life, you’ll be much more free. Use that freedom to travel the world while staying productive. You’ll be able to work anywhere in the world—and a new breed of co-working and living spaces make that easy. Ovolo’s Mojo Nomad program allows you to live and work in hip-hotels in Hong Kong and Sydney, with fast Internet and free breakfast.
Reducing the physical burden of papers and books doesn’t mean you have to eliminate special possessions—far from it. By choosing what you really need carefully, you are freeing yourself to focus on what you really enjoy. For many people, moving to a digital only life will vastly improve their productivity and even their happiness.
Alex Webb is a traveller who has visited over 30 countries and lived in Hong Kong, Japan, China, South Korea, and the United States. He has written for National Geographic Books and co-authored a book published by the Financial Times Press. When he’s not travelling or writing, he enjoys playing guitar and writing songs. Follow him on instagram at @alxndrwb