I work in tech startups and am amazed at the amount of noise in our lives. Not information, or learning, or experiences – just clutter and noise.
As I do each year, I’ve just returned form the annual digital detox at the beach on a hammock with my lovely wife and become aware again of the clutter I’ve allowed to seep back into my life over the last year.
I’m an avid reader and love learning, but the first thing I do when I get to bed is take my iPad, not my perfect Kindle Paperwhite, and mindlessly stare at Facebook to play with my imaginary friends, or view Google Plus animated gifs. What a waste of time and brain space, not to mention the impact on my ability to fall asleep.
So far this year (all 9 days of it) I’ve managed to reach for the Kindle instead of the iPad and read each evening and it’s great. My brain is alive and making connections and being creative while I sleep, and I rest well not having blasted my eyes with high intensity light and crap.
So it’s time to evaluate where I’m putting my precious time. Facebook benefits are almost zero. Staying in touch with distant “friends”? Watching an endless stream of ads and food pictures? Checking in to places so my imaginary friends can ‘like’ it, thereby wasting their precious time?
This year I’m going to go retro – stay in touch with real friends in real life. Going to places with them negating the need to ‘check-in’. Getting them over to show them the holiday pics if they care or are slightly interested at all.
Twitter? Not so sure about this one. It has led to loads of serendipity and real-world benefits, connections and is quite useful. My go to place for near-time news or events. So Twitter stays, but as a ‘near-time event search engine’.
Linkedin? Unavoidable and useful as a business tool and great for generating leads and interest, but I’m ignoring the news feeds and articles (mostly).
Google Plus. Dead.
News? I use Flipboard but the problem here is discovery. You get force fed whatever topic/stream you choose pandering to confirmation bias, so I’m not sure how to optimise this yet. I’m switching off general world news besides BBC and Al Jazeera for 2 opposing views of the world, but in small bites as the negativity can’t be good. I believe that if you care enough about an issue, do something – don’t be a voyeur.
TV? I don’t watch much TV and when I do, it’s streaming and on-demand only. Going to a movie is still a good experience, so that can stay.
email? UNSUBSCRIBE FURIOUSLY AND MERCILESSLY. I’m pleasantly surprised how little email comes in when doing this.
These few habits have already freed up one to two hours a day. More time for exercising my body and mind, reading, doing nothing and relaxing with Kim, and thinking. A good start to the new year.