My information diet

My information diet

This post was original sent out to the lovely people on my newsletter list. It had such a terrific response, I am posting it here to make it easier to find.

There is so much information out there for us to consume now:

  • Blogs
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Newsletters
  • Podcasts
  • Audiobooks

to name but a few! And with a blog, newsletter, Facebook page, Instagram account and irregular podcast I realise I am a contributor to the avalanche of information!

Personally I love being able to access information on topics of interest to me. However, what I have worked out over the last few years, is that just as I consider the food I put in my mouth in terms of how it helps keep my body healthy, I need to consider what type of information I take in with regard to the impact it has on my mind.

When I was consuming much more information at a faster pace, I would come away from the online experience feeling a little frazzled, jittery and scattered. The super fast paced and shallow scroll, scroll, scroll, click, click, click behaviour left me feeling worse for the experience.

For the last few year I have taken a much slower approach to the information I consume and have reduced the volume I take in. The experience leaves me feeling informed and I feel like I have blocked out so much of the noise that caught my attention but didn’t add value.

I had to make significant changes to how I consumed information to do this. These were some of the key changes I made:

  • Installed Google chrome news feed eradicator – this means I can access Facebook in my browser to interact with groups etc for both work and personal reasons, but I cannot access my news feed. It prevents the unconscious scrolling that can happen so easily.
  • Declutter my Feedly account – Feedly is a news aggregator application for various web browsers and mobile devices running iOS and Android, also available as a cloud-based service. You can read more about it and how to use it in my post here. I had been adding to Feedly for years, but many of the feeds I had subscribed to, I was no longer interested in. I reduced my subscriptions by over half.
  • Declutter my Podcast subscriptions – as above, I was adding more and more podcasts to my account, but I couldn’t possibly listen to them all. I reduced the number of podcasts in my account by about a third. Some I was deleting thinking – “I might miss something super interesting” and was worried about it. The reality is if I really missed the podcast, I could re-subscribe at any time.
  • Unsubscribed from newsletter lists – every time you buy something online you are almost always subscribed to their newsletter lists. A number of times a year I will go on an unsubscribing spree from newsletters. Some things I signed up to at a time when I had an interest in an area, now that interest has passed, I no longer need to keep receiving the newsletters. My newsletter might be that for you. I have an automation set up to contact people if they haven’t opened emails for a number of months, asking if they would like to stay subscribed. If no response is received then the reader is unsubscribed. The last thing I want to do is clutter up people’s inboxes! There is always an unsubscribe link at the end of my emails too, that you can use if you feel it is no longer right for you.
  • Key sources on topics of interest – it is super easy to spend too much time online searching for information, whether it be a place to take the kids, nutrition information or tech news. I have a number of go to places that I head to first when looking for certain information. Yes I could just do an internet search for it, but then I have to start making decisions on what info I will look at and once I start searching – when do I stop?? I find limiting my options works better. I could search for ever and not find the perfect result, so I choose to go to some sources I have read for a long time and trust. Here are some I like (they might not be right for you, but I encourage you to develop your own list of go to resources):
  • Morning brew – this is an email newsletter on all things business. It is written in quirky upbeat manner and keeps me across issues that I would not find elsewhere in my information flow.
  • Tot Hot or Not – I subscribe to Joyce’s newsletter and regularly visit her website to find activities for the kids and I to do. It is always my first port of call for school holidays and long weekends.
  • Becoming minimalist – it has a regular weekend reads posts that I love. I can subscribe to this one blog and it gives me my feed of minimalism info I need.
  • Mark’s daily apple – also has a weekend round up post. I used to subscribe to so many health and fitness blogs, but this weekend post has lots of good info it and I have unsubscribed from many others now.
  • Buffer blog – this is a great blog on all things social media. Social media has so much info out there, that when I am looking for info on this topic it can be overwhelming. I really like the way Buffer writes their posts and will always head there first for any thing social media related.

As you can see, I still consume online information but I am much more conscious about what it is I consume and the quantity I consume. I spend only small amounts of time on social media for personal use most days and many days nothing at all. At first I felt like I was missing out, as I would hear others talk about things they had seen online or what one of our friends had posted on Facebook, but after a few weeks, it didn’t bother me at all. I actually felt much better from spending less time on social media! 

If you would like to reduce your time on line check out my free e-course Mindful Technology Management.

I hope that I add value to the information you consume! My monthly finds posts are my attempt and creating a post that can be a resource for you and I would love to hear your feedback on if you find them useful. They take a bit of time to put together, so it would be great to know if they are hitting the mark or not – hit reply and let me know what you think. You can find my May Finds post here