Reducing my incoming Information flow


#1

I am trying an experiment for the next 2 weeks where I eliminate my social media and rss consumption.

I have had problems off and on with my communication, and the main problem is I have a difficult time relaying information I’ve obtained, either through reading or verbally. I only pass along a portion of the relevant information, and have to be prodded for the rest. Sometimes, that doesn’t happen and as a result people are misinformed.

I had the idea that it might be due to the flood of information I parse every day. I scan at least ~400 rss entries, and just as many tweets in a day. All that varying, short bursts of information is filling up my short term cache in my mind I think, making it hard to recollect a single event in all that noise.

So far today, I feel more clearheaded, but I am chalking that up to placebo. I hope it continues though. I’ll log my results here.


#2

I wish you good luck with this endeavor Tim. I have tried to reduce social media considerably to be more present and overall it has been a good experience. I was not able to abandon it all the way that I sometimes think that I should, but I have been choosing when to consume it rather that letting the constant streaming of information wash over me. I deleted my feed reader and my Instagram account and decided to focus more on using my own blog to produce content rather than to only consume and re-post (instagram app to WP and Pinterest as examples). I feel better overall and think that it does help me to feel less overwhelmed by the media and more present with the people interacting with me.


#3

Thanks Susan!

This is a really great way of putting it. Yeah, I have problems switching from letting content wash over me vs. paying close attention and retaining information.


#4

I stopped processing news because most of it is the same “dog bit man” stuff, with few items being of interest to me. I found that I heard about important things from people around me, either in conversation or from aggregation (like blog posts, but more journal stuff, not RSS feeds of news sites). Then, when I want to know more about that important bit, I go and research it in longform.

This has the tendency to make me more informed that others about any given subject, and it also allows me to cut down on speculation inherent in a news cycle. So that covers the world. I subscribe to about 30 feeds, and only a couple of them are high volume (one is about portable computing, because I like seeing the gadgets coming down the line, but I don’t need to actually think about them much).

For my own brain, I’ve cut back on interruptions. I use jabber, of course, and that is the primary way folks can get my immediate attention. While I tend to be in my inbox for work, I don’t check my mail automatically. And having just written that, I am now determined to not check my work mail as often.

When I was freelancing, I checked my mail twice a day. It works, because nothing actually happens if one doesn’t check their mail more often. When I check my mail, it is to process it (and I put it in external systems for processing, such as creating tasks on Guild Works, or delegating to someone else). If something catches fire, folks will text/call me.

I am split on “social media”. I think visiting forums and writing like this is about what I can handle. I appreciate these big public databases of searchable messages, but as tool of distraction, I am not sure there is anything as disruptive to my focus than social networks.

And I just counted the feeds I sub to: 14, 2 of which are personal blogs, and the rest are project blogs (changelogs and new releases).

@tim, something I’ve started doing to feel like I am ingesting the right information is sign up for Blinkist. They do summaries of non-fiction books that can be heard or read in 15 minutes. I am considering paying for the full subscription, because that is worth it for me, but the free version does a book a day, which is pretty interesting if one is looking for something random and educational. :slight_smile:


#5

@maiki Thanks for the tip, that does seem to be a pretty great service. I signed up!

I am struggling with feeling antsy. I’ll be working on something, hit a minor wall, and I have this reflex of wanting to go distract myself for a couple moments. With those gone… it’s a little weird still. I do feel more focused though, and I have more of a drive to create. I might even update my blog more than once every four months now.


#6

I get that, whenever I purge feeds or change something up. I believe it is actually one’s brain looking for a chemical hit. Dopamine or something.

I get irritated and upset, like I’ve seen folks get when they quit smoking. But I always have a book I am reading, and I believe that a longform document to be better for my attention, even if I am not focusing on what I ought to.

I created a task at https://guild.works/T532, to subscribing to meaningful feeds. I will do a final tally here when I close that. :slight_smile:


#7

That is a good idea, to have a book to turn to in those moments. I will do that.

I have been slipping back into old habits, checking things throughout the day again. :frowning: Going to do better today!


#8

Just an update: in order to do better with this, I have written a list of domains to block on my laptop. I just altered my /etc/hosts and added these to it:

The effect is staggering. It’s awesome.