how to live a better life with your phone

A Twentysomething Guide to Digital Minimalism



Popular media sources love to pigeonhole us into a generation of ‘phone addicted snowflakes’. And yes, we spend an ungodly amount of time staring at our screens. But we sometimes forget that our phone and social media can help make us happier, healthier, and more educated!

Let’s start here: technology isn’t intrinsically bad for you. Nor is it intrinsically beneficial. It all depends on how we use technology. Sometimes it seems as technology controls us, and it’s important to remember that we are fully in control of our digital experience.

So, instead of advocating for completely unplugging (although this can be nice from time to time), I believe that anyone can learn how to use technology in a way that supports their goals and values, and creates a positive digital experience.

Here’s how:  

1 | Take a mental note each time you catch yourself aimlessly scrolling

There’s something so addictive about scrolling through our social feeds that we won’t even stop after doing a full circle and seeing the same old content again. Reaching an end point provides a sense of control (I mean, why would you even consider going to the second page of Google results?). By infinitely scrolling, we never encounter such a trigger, and our brain has to process more information than it can handle, often leaving us a little disoriented and fatigued after snapping out of it.

The first step to un-learning this habit is to simply take a moment when you realise you’re doing it. Ask yourself: “Am I benefitting from this at the moment?” If the answer is no, you’ll notice that it’s suddenly a lot easier to put down your phone.


2 | Turn off your notifications

You own your phone, not the other way around. And I get it, who doesn’t like to distract themselves from other tasks by checking what memes they were tagged in? By doing so, however, you create the idea you’re expected to be available 24/7, and that can be stressful. Why not turn off your notifications and reply at a moment that suits you better, while at the same time reducing your screen time?

3 | Go through unanswered texts before going to bed

Ever woken up in the middle of the night thinking “SHIT I HAVEN’T REPLIED TO THIS PERSON”? (I have it all the time because I suck at replying). Disconnecting and unwinding at the end of your day is easier knowing you haven’t ignored your best friend’s boy-crisis. Set a specific time for when you go through all your texts and (personal) emails, for example after dinner.

4 | Know when something you see is a false reality

“Woman finds secret to eternal life, doctors HATE her”. Whether we’re talking disappointing clickbait articles or low-key influencer marketing on the Gram, there are tons of misleading advertising circulating on the internet. Pay attention to hashtags like #ad or #sponsored to double check if your favourite social media celebrity truly loves a product or service or just is being paid for promoting it.

5 | Similarly, don’t compare yourself to strangers on the internet

Social media can sometimes make us feel like we’re not living our best lives, but in reality, no one is! Like some inject their lips with botox or get butt implants, people ‘cosmetically’ – or rather, technically – alter, distort, and filter their life online. As a result, we’re all set up with a bunch of unrealistic expectations that we consider to be the new normal. Offline, even Alexis Ren looks like she got hit by a car sometimes.


6 | Social media isn’t the equivalent of a social contract

You don’t have to accept your co-workers friend request, or follow back this person you spoke to 6 years ago, even if you feel like you should just to be nice to them. If you really want a valuable digital experience, it doesn’t make sense to allow a bunch of people that you wouldn’t engage with on your timeline.  

7 | Create a list of how you use social media versus how you could use it more effectively

Do you sometimes snoop around the social media accounts of your ex / nemesis / someone you like to hate on/make fun of? That habit is now canceled. Instead, take a regular peek at the profile of someone you look up to. Use it to offer help, educate, or positively influence your digital peers.

8 | Unfollow anyone who doesn’t make you happier, healthier, more educated or inspired

For me, that includes still following a guy that I hardly know, because he often shares genuinely satisfying videos of him peeling off plastic of new equipment. BLISS.


9 | Include your personal goals into your digital experience

Do you want to improve your French this year? Go find someone French-speaking that you’d like to follow and engage with. Watch Netflix shows with French subtitles. Change the language settings on your phone to French and watch how fast you’ll be forced to learn new vocab!

Things that happen at every house party

These are the things you’ll see at every house party:


8.50 PM: Your party starts at 9, which means your party really starts at least an hour later. There’s always that one kid who shows up at your door wayyyy too early. Chances are that they’ll be hovering around you nervously as you’re still getting ready.

10.00 PM: Your living room is filling up nicely, but you notice that not everyone got the BYOB-memo. Oh, well, you already knew you had snakes for friends, right?

11PM: Someone gets completely wrecked by beer pong and is hugging the toilet for the rest of the night.

house party at the student hotel rotterdam

11.30PM: One person decides to be the life of the party and genuinely believes it’s the right time for “TEQUILAAAA”. Although no one is actually buzzing to be doing double shots, they still manage to convince the entire room to drink along.

11:37PM: The tequila is kicking in nicely and new friendships and romances are established out of thin air. “SUPRISED PIKACHU IS MY FAVOURITE MEME TOO”

12 AM: Apparently word of your epic house party is spreading like wildfire because you’re pretty sure you didn’t invite that random group standing in the kitchen. By this time however, everyone is your best friend, so you couldn’t care less.

house party at the student hotel rotterdam

12.30AM: Someone tries to rally the squad to leave the house party for some mediocre bar in the city, but obviously fails because this is where all the alcohol is.

1.30 AM: A handful of latecomers show up at your doorstep more four hours after the party was supposed to start. You wonder what they have been up to, but forget about asking as soon as you rush back to the kitchen to shove some beers in their hands.

2AM: Ah, the long-awaited moment has come: your neighbours have had enough and start complaining. You wonder “What would the Great Gatsby do?” and decide the show must go on. 

3AM: The house party has definitely already peaked, but no one is ready to admit it. Half of the crowd is mellowing out on the couch, and the other half is dancing their asses off to Nickelback. What a time to be alive.

THE MORNING AFTER: As you gather the courage to roll out of bed with your head spinning, you assess the damage of last night. Your feet are plastered to the beer-soaked floor and you notice that your [insert any random household item] is missing. You go through your photos and messages and stumble on some questionable if not incriminating content and decide to go back to sleep.

Tiesto playing at Amsterdam Dance Event

A twentysomething guide to: Amsterdam Dance Event 2018

October 17th will mark the start of Amsterdam Dance Event, and as a fan of techno music, I’d favour this over Halloween any time of the day. That’s why I’ve written a little guide with everything you’ll need to know for this week full of of dance and debauchery. Whether you’re a self-proclaimed dance veteran, or thought ADE was some kind of illness until now, check out this read to have an unforgettable time in Amsterdam.


Back in 1995, Amsterdam Dance Event started out as an electronic music conference. The 90’s marked the start of the dance music obsession in the Netherlands, and the conference was meant boost the business-side of the industry. Fast forward more than two decades, Amsterdam Dance Event has grown into the “leading electronic music platform and the biggest club festival in the world for the whole spectrum of electronic sub-genres.” Think five days, 2,500 artists, 400K visitors, scattered across 200 of the most unique locations in the city of Amsterdam.

Hardwell, Tiësto, Martin Garrix: the Dutch world of dance has a phenomenal global reputation with some of the best and most popular DJ’s being born and raised here in the Netherlands. What’s in the water here, that turns young men into such naturally talented producers? ADE is definitely a home game for these big names, but do expect loads of international superstars joining too.

Artist playing at Amsterdam Dance Event


Yes, the off-the-wall concentration of musical artists in one city is fabulous, but becoming overwhelmed with choice paralysis and FOMO by scrolling through an endless list of events is inevitable. That’s why I asked my friend & event organiser Denys to hand over his selection of must-see shows.

Pleinvrees: It’s that time of year again! At our annual October family reunion the Pleinvrees-family gathers in Amsterdam for some much needed quality time. The classic WesterUnie with its three industrial halls serve as the perfect place of business.  To kick things off, we welcome back the ‘masters of melody’ Hungry Music at their home away from home. Olivier brings the Weiter-gang for the first day of this year’s Pleinvrees ADE trilogy. Well begun is half done!

DGTL: DGTL returns to the well-known Scheepsbouwloods for this year’s ADE. The Friday will be hosted by Paradise, Saturday by Outlier, but on Thursday DGTL is in full control. In order to match the industrial vibe of the Scheepsbouwloods, DGTL has invited no other than Nina Kraviz, Jeff Mills, Bicep [live], Floorplan, and many othes.

Free Your Mind: On Thursday October 18th, Free Your Mind Festival is presenting three label showcases in one single event at Amsterdam’s beloved Thuishaven terrain. Hernan Cattaneo’s label Sudbeat, Nick Warren’s Soundgarden imprint, and Audiofly’s Flying Circus are joining forces. Expect to see many of the usual suspects on this Thursday, which is part of Free Your Mind’s anniversary festivities.


So, have you not bought your ticket yet? Tranquilo, there’s always a way. Most events have been sold out due to high demand, but there are still ways to get your hands on those golden tickets without selling your soul.

People will be trying to get rid of their tickets last-minute. Seize that opportunity! Tickeswap is a great platform for buyers and sellers, because you’ll never be paying more than 20% on top of the original ticket price. If you’re lucky, (and this happens quite often) you may be able to get a ticket for a lower price than the event was selling it for.

If you can’t be rich, be smart, am I right?


If we’re all being honest, ADE could also stand for Amsterdam Drug Event, considering how many people see this festival as a legitimate excuse to go on a complete binge. Obviously, this is not the way to go about it, and if you do decide to use, be responsible about it.

Despite the fact that most party drugs are still illegal, the police is generally quite lenient when it comes to Amsterdam Dance Event. If you get busted at the entrance, you’ll have to say bye-bye to your candy and may be denied entrance. If you plan to carry more than 5 pills or 0,5 grams of any substance – don’t! You’ll be risking a serious fine if not prison time, since this will be considered dealing.

Party at indoor venue at Amsterdam Dance Event

If you are planning on taking drugs during the Amsterdam Dance Event, please make sure that you know what you’re taking is safe. We know that this is getting a little bit old now, but there have been fatalities with drugs on ADE before, and do you really want to risk being that person? There will be a number of drug testing facilities available on the spot to make sure you’re good to go.

  • During your trip, be sensible. If you’re not feeling it, don’t suddenly shove an entire pill down your throat!
  • Stay hydrated: interchanging between Coke and water is a good idea. All festivals are required to hand out free water, and there will be first-aid posts at the events to make sure that you’re safe and sound.
  • If you tend to chew off your tongue on a trip, Magnesium is your friend. Take a pill before throwing shapes on the dance floor to relax your muscles and alleviate any pain the next day.
  • Check in with your friends every occasionally to see how they’re doing, even if you (or they) are busy getting completely lost in the music.


Chances are that your day, night, or week of partying will end with a bit of a thud, as you’ll be slung back into reality on Monday morning. Amsterdam will go back to its usual self, (can’t quite speak of a slumber as it is a madhouse 24/7) and you’ll probably be doing the same. We can all agree that post-festival blues suck, even more so with an unbearable hangover.

The cure is pretty straightforward. Grab your Netflix-and-Chill buddy, catch that extra hour of sleep, eat food that’s high in protein and fat (such as avocado, egg, fish and nuts) and exercise yourself happy!