PMR #252: Decluttering Your Mind and Tech — with Cal Newport


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This week we speak with Cal Newport, computer science professor and author of Digital Minimalism. Our conversation is all about how we can use technology strategically and reduce the harmful effects of the addictive habits and platforms that have crept into our lives over the past decade. We talk about the effects of these problems on our brains, the benefits of walking and reflection, how to replace wasted time with quality analog activities, and much more. For an inspiring and thought-provoking discussion, be sure to tune in.


Key Points From This Episode:

  • The positive message behind Digital Minimalism.
  • Technology’s unexpected evolutionary turns and starting from scratch.
  • The future of social media if people minimize their usage.
  • How usage crumbles with the slightest friction to access.
  • Expanding the Paleo philosophy beyond diet.
  • The impact of new technologies on our evolutionary brain.
  • Solitude and processing time for your mind.
  • Productive meditation and learning to refocus your mind.
  • The undeniable benefits of walking.
  • A lesson from the Amish community.
  • Cal’s ideas around a digital decluttering period.
  • The analogy of physical minimalism.
  • Replacing the digital clutter with high-quality analog hobbies.
  • Batching and more efficient ways to use our time.
  • Taking advantage of our position after a digital declutter.
  • A little about Cal’s forthcoming book on technology at work.
  • And much more!


“When you actually dive deeper into what is this unease that people are increasingly feeling about technology, it’s not as much about the technology as you would think.” — Cal Newport [0:09:03.5]

“This is a big reason why people today feel uneasy if they can't really put their finger on it.” — Cal Newport [0:14:22.8]

“It's a combination of things you step away from completely, plus things that you have very clear specifications for how you're supposed to use it, that gets you as close as possible to not using it.” — Cal Newport [0:51:07.3]

Links Mentioned in This Episode:

Bonafide Provisions —

Cal Newport —

Deep Work —

Digital Minimalism —

Georgetown University


Dartmouth College —

Steve Jobs —

ExxonMobil —

Lead Yourself First —

Blaise Pascal —

Ben Franklin —

Abraham Lincoln —

Virginia Woolf —

Wendell Berry —

Jon Kabat-Zinn —

Daily Rituals —

A Philosophy of Walking —

Freedom —

Marie Kondo

Slack —

Primal Palate —

McCormick —


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352 episodes