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My only goal for 2021: Digital Intentionality

Last updated Jan 4, 2021 Edit Source

During the holidays, I was contemplating on what skills should I invest time on for 2021. As someone who is working in the technology field, there are a lot of exciting things to double-down on: from Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Blockchain, and a plethora of technology trends. As I reflected on how my 2020 went in terms of career and lifestyle, I noticed that there is an area I really need to work on - my digital life.

I noticed that there are a lot of times I am in an “auto-pilot” mode from scrolling social media feeds, watching endless YouTube videos, and binging mediocre movies, and TV series. However, this concept falls not only within the “distractions” realm, but it also applies to the so-called “productive” realm. When working, I sometimes spend a lot of “midnight oils” just so I can finish things from the imaginary deadlines that I’ve set. A lot of times, when I thought I’m trying to solve a problem, I end up with a rabbit hole of other topics and discussions - I get sidetracked without me knowing it. This also applies to technical topics.


It’s silly and funny if you think about it if represented in a not-so-digital way. Imagine going in the car, you start the engine, but we set no destination; you’ll just drive across the block and see if something fun amuses you. However, as part of strolling along the streets, you also witness some not so good things or probably a lot of boring things - may be a ratio of 1:100; for every good thing you see around, it comes with 100 unpleasant sights.

So I’ve read a lot of self-help books around this topic, in particular a lot focuses on “Digital Minimalism” wherein they ask you to uninstall apps, unsubscribe to things, etc. In my opinion, it doesn’t work for everyone, at least it doesn’t work for me. These digital technologies, platforms, and applications are part of my career and my lifestyle. One way or the other, I need App X and App Y. However, I don’t need them ALL the time.

What I need is a “trick” so I have the right intention when I’m about to use a device or application. I need to develop a mental model, framework, methodology so that even if I have over 10 devices, I can safeguard myself from the rabbit hole and infinity pool of contents. I think the right term for this is Digital Intentionality.

What I want to accomplish by the end of the year are:

The modern struggle: Lone individuals summoning inhuman willpower, fasting, meditating, and exercising… Up against armies of scientists and statisticians weaponizing abundant food, screens, and medicine into junk food, clickbait news, infinite porn, endless games, and addictive drugs. -Naval Ravikant

These technologies are here to stay, you can’t just go rogue and live on the mountains. This is part of who we are now as a society, whether or not you like it. It’s time that we make sure we are still in control of our lives, not some machine learning algorithms.

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