Are you suffering from information overload?
Is the news / media making you depressed, agitated, or angry?
Do you feel mentally sluggish resulting in low productivity and drive?
You may have infobesity caused by consuming an ever growing surplus of poor quality ‘infotainment’ and propaganda passing as substantive news and an addiction to brain rotting sugary celebrity gossip and reality TV fluff.
Consider a Low Information Diet
I recently ran across a couple of articles (see below) that are helping me to do some mental de-cluttering. I’m starting to craft my own version of a Low Information Diet. What is a Low Information Diet? It’s just what it sounds like. ‘Low Information’ does not mean ‘No Information’. It does not mean we stop learning, stop caring, and live in ignorance. Starving our minds of all information (inforexia?) would be just as bad.
A Low Information Diet refers to the action of consuming proper proportions of useful, high quality info. Here are a handful of points that I remember from the articles. Please read the actual source articles below (and the book), if they interest you.
ONE. Avoid consuming what doesn’t concern you.
Ask yourself if the ‘news’ you are reading or listening to will impact you, specifically, in the immediate future. Is this ‘news’ something useful that you can act on to improve your life or the lives of others? If not, then evaluate if consuming this ‘news’ is the best use of your time and emotional energy.
TWO. Limit and be very selective of your news sources
Pick high quality, sources on topics that you care about. Stay close to the source. Just as we should strive to eat unprocessed food, we should also strive to consume unprocessed information.
On adapting Michael Pollan’s famous food diet (“Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants”) for information:
“Seek. Not too much. Mostly facts. Eat low on the sort of ‘information food chain,’ and stick close to sources. (Source)
Keep the perspectives of your news sources varied; more varied, in fact, than may feel comfortable to you at first. We can’t afford to live in an info-bubble or echo-chamber. Some people point to information bubbles as the reason why Donald Trump’s election was a surprise to many Americans. Back in the old days journalists strove to be fair and neutral in their reporting. It was important to “get both sides of the story”. Journalistic integrity mattered.
These days most ‘news’ is barely disguised infotainment propaganda and celebrity press releases. Add to the mix ‘fake news’ from content mills in other countries, which may have affected the US election and is becoming a global problem. It can be stressful to know what information to trust. We need to have a laser focus when it comes to what sources are worthy of reading and listening to and taking action on.
THREE. Avoid consuming negative, news about fear, pain, and suffering.
It’s not good for us. It’s too much. We humans aren’t designed to take the weight of the world’s suffering on our shoulders. It gives us nothing but stress as we worry about other people’s problems on top of our own problems.
What I’m Doing
I used to have literally hundreds of stories in my various news feeds that I would scan through daily . Now, I have culled my RSS feeds to remove stories that cause me stress or don’t teach me anything I’m interested in learning. Remember, ‘Clicks have consequences’. Read the article below to learn how and what you can do about it.
This also includes the financial information I consume. I’ve also started cutting out a lot of ‘woe-is-me student loans ruined my life’ related articles and websites. I’m living that reality. I don’t need to read about it anymore. I don’t need to read about real estate opportunities, or high-flying investment techniques, because that’s not where I am right now. My financial picture is pretty set for the next few years until I get out of debt. My paycheck is wrung dry between taxes, student loan payments and retirement savings.
As I turn the corner toward 2017, I’m going to focus more on what I can change – meaning health (exercise and cleaning up my horrible food diet), simple living (clearing clutter and doing more to practice minimalism), and thinking about a side business/ second career/ or other sources of income.
Are you ready for an information diet? Here are a few sources to explore.
- Book: The Information Diet: A Case for Conscious Consumption by Clay A. Johnson
- Is It Time for You to Go On an ‘Information Diet’? Great NPR article on Infobesity and why ‘clicks have consequences’. You can read the article or listen to the interview with Clay Johnson – 6 minutes.
- How to Use the Low Information Diet for Better Day-to-Day Productivity – This is the article from which I described the key points above. Read all of the author’s points here.
“Debtor’s prison is real, and opportunity cost is a bitch.” (DDSW) [All posts on one page]