Week 1/52 – Mental bandwidth

There is a figure in Greg McKeon’s Essentialism that I keep coming back to:

Even though I conceptually comprehend the benefits of focusing on one vs trying to accomplish a dozen, the magnitude of the difference in output always surprises me. The first time I saw this graph I thought the difference was exaggerated for dramatic effect, and couldn’t believe the ‘focused’ line truly was just the cumulative total of all the little ones.

‘Mental bandwidth’, for me, is a concept that defines my ability to deal with situations. Over time, I have learnt there are broadly three main components to it:

  1. Time
  2. Energy
  3. Attention

I need to have all three; the lack of one derails the system. All the time and energy in the world is no use if I cannot focus at a task at hand, and all the energy and attention in the world is but unfulfilled potential without time to apply it.

In this first week of digital minimalism, with a weekend almost entirely free from the internet, its impact on my mental bandwidth has been my biggest takeaway. Digital minimalism, allows me to expand each aspect – my time, my energy, and my attention. It creates space. Space for wonderful things to happen. Those cycles of time, energy, and attention that were previously occupied by the internet were now free. Free to be put to use for wonderful things.

Instead of diving straight into a dedicated 30 day digital detox, I spent this week doing ‘mini-experiments’, such as the weekend without connectivity. I rediscovered just how much I enjoyed reading a good physical book with a nice cup of tea in my evenings, and how rejuvenating lunchtime walks were. I clearly defined my goals, such as what technologies were okay to use with limitations, and what best entirely abstained from.

I feel incredibly excited about the journey of the year ahead, and to share it with you all on here. There are already several drafts in place for upcoming posts – I intend to go deep into both the mindset (‘why to’) and application (‘how to’) of digital minimalism. Thank you to each and every one of you who was kind enough to send me a note of encouragement or to sign up to the email updates. Here is to a wonderful week ahead.

2 thoughts on “Week 1/52 – Mental bandwidth

  1. I look forward to reading. I have also been encouraged by Cal, but right now I’m stuck at the phase where I have to determine what I can do without, what needs rules, and what those rules should be. I would enjoy a post about what rules you establish and what tech you do without completely.


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