Have you heard of Tim Ferriss? He’s an efficiency expert who can cut the waste out of almost anything. The 80/20 analysis post I previously wrote about was from him. Then I ordered his first book The Four Hour Work Week (4HWW). Within it was a way to cut out mental overwhelm.
The 24 hour news cycle and social media constantly bombards us with information. We’re information junkies. Raise your hand if you look at your phone during every free moment. Did you need to? Was there a life or death issue at stake?
Throw Out The Phone
Tim has an action step in the Low-Information Diet chapter. An immediate 5 Day Media Fast. My modifications are in the parentheses. These are the rules:
- NO newspapers, magazines, audiobooks, or nonmusic radio (or podcasts). Music is permitted.
- NO news websites whatsoever (blogs included. I’ll miss you guys that week.)
- NO television except one hour of pleasure viewing a day.
- NO reading books, except 4HWW, and an hour of pleasure reading before bed (I kept my Bible study time in).
- NO web surfing unless it’s necessary to complete a work task for that day. (Scheduling, promoting, and typing posts for me.)
No unnecessary reading. Bond with loved ones, learn the book’s principles, do the top priority tasks from the last chapter (I’ll get to that on Thursday), and get your 5 minute media fix at lunch. Here I come Facebook.
What I Learned
I actually enjoyed the fast. These are the takeaways from it.
- I revisited my dusty CD collection.
- I had to prioritize my backlog of podcasts. I know where to cut the fat now.
- Same with the TV. It’s a good way to figure out what your favorite show really is.
- I learned how much the world revolves around me during the 5 minute fixes. Few to no notifications. Unlike Atlas, we can shrug.
- It was peaceful without the politics, drama, and pontificating.
I carried over a few things from this. 24/7 News has been absent from my TV for years. Local, too, for that matter. Scanning the headlines lets me know if I need to dig deeper.
When you understand the tribalism involved in politics, you’ll find the need for a scalpel. Then you carefully cut the facts out of the emotionally charged opinions and misinformation. Isn’t there a better way to spend your time?
This rolls over into a later tip of Tim’s. Only worry about information you need right now. Not the information you might need later. Reminds me of a quote from Sherlock, paraphrased, ‘My brain is like a computer, I have to save the space for what I need.”
I kept the pleasure reading at the end of the night. I probably should go back to the five minute Facebook fix. Maybe three times a day.
Try it. Your mind will thank you and it will prepare you to cut out the parts of your life that drain you. Next post we’ll look at doing more with less stress.