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January 2020 Challenge

8 January 2020

This first post of 2020 comes from the thoughts of Cal Newport. Mr. Newport’s most recent book is called Digital Minimalism. In this spirit, we offer the following suggestions for January of 2020:

  • To read three or four new books this January. Take your pick – fiction or non-fiction, anything from Cicero’s Orations to Dave Barry’s humor. Get into the habit of engaging with the written word on a daily basis.


  • To walk for at least 30 minutes’ duration every day, leaving your devices at home. Look at the world, the people, the landscape, around you. And think about the significance of it all.
  • To converse in-depth with at least 20 different people this month – and not via text or email. Facetime and Zoom are acceptable, and you must be able to hear one another’s voices. While this may be challenging, you can take colleagues to lunch, touch base with old friends, check in with your relatives.


  • To participate in the tangible world. If you like knitting, painting, hiking, bike-riding, etc., you’re already set – just do more of it. If you do not have such a hobby or physical activity, take one up. Learn to crochet, or to build model airplanes. Start running. Whatever inspires you to encounter and master the challenges of the physical world. (If you haven’t guessed, screen-based activities don’t qualify: no points for online games or even novel-writing.)

  • To get together with others on a weekly basis. Join a book club, a bird-watching group. Whatever your interests are, there are others nearby who share them. Find these others, engage with them. Enrich their lives and let them enrich your own. I am going to take up mahjong (a four-player game) this month, and invite others to come over to play.

I’m going to try this – who is with me?


Please click here to email me directly – I would love to know your hear your ideas on engaging with the real world more and the digital world less.