I’m one of those people who naturally wants to do 4.5 million things almost all the time. Life is full of possibilities and opportunities and, let’s face it, there’s never been a time when so much information has been so available. Did I mention I’ll also love researching the hell out of things?
But, as the saying goes, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” If I want to actually get anywhere I have to pare down.
This was a big realization to me as a I began to pursue my dream of becoming a writer and speaker. Honestly, it’s been something I have been working on ever since I read The Four-Hour Workweek, by Tim Ferriss, back in 2008. This book changed the way I would forever think of life optimization and work–you should read it. But let’s get at the point here.
One big ‘ole important step to figuring out what you want and how to get it is by clearing your mind of distraction. Easier said than done, I know.
Post-election, I’m realizing how much more I need to do this lately. I can feel my stomach turn and my shoulders tense when I see yet one more story about Trump.
Every time I’ve gone on an information diet, whether it’s for a week, or a month I feel more at peace, more focused, and happier. It’s helped me focus on what I really want, and take bigger strides to making it a reality.
We humans aren’t meant to carry all the information that is lobbed at us every day; and science is starting to show us just how bad this problem is.
So here is the Tim Ferriss Low Information Diet, in short:
- No newspapers, audio books, podcasts, magazines.
- No news websites
- No TV (or YouTube), except one hour of purely pleasure viewing each night.
- No reading books, except one hour of fiction pleasure reading.
- No browsing the internet, unless it’s completely necessary.
These are pretty strict, and in the beginning, people (me, ahem) often need to go on this drastic diet in order to “reset” their information addiction. Here’s my personal version, for right now:
- Only check social media accounts twice/day (yeah, I’m that bad)
- Only listen to story-driven podcasts (like Modern Love, The Moth, and Dear Sugar), limiting “work” podcasts (like How I Built This, BinderCast, etc.) to once per week.
- TV: Only Netflix and Amazon (no advertisements)
I find that if I don’t go on social media much I don’t end up browsing around the interwebs aimlessly. And I don’t get caught up in the next crazy political headline.
Think about starting your own version of a Low Information Diet. And tell me how it goes!