The Information Diet – Tech-Lite Challenge

{via Crash Test Mummy}

Laney is having a stupendous time in NYC, naturally, so I’m keeping the homefires burning for the Tech-Lite Challenge while she’s away.

Week One of the challenge has been a revelation, let me tell you.

And I can sum it up for you in one simple idea:

Put yourself on the Information Diet.

The objective of the Tech Lite Challenge is not to cut ourselves off from the online world we’re part of. It is, instead, to learn to be more mindful of what we’re actually doing when we’re online, and not being content just to drift around, following the rabbithole to wherever it may lead.

The beauty of the Information Diet is in its simplicity. You ask yourself two questions whenever you find yourself online, but know you could be spending your time more wisely somewhere else:

 

1. Do I REALLY care about this?

Often, I find myself reading an article or a blog post simply because it’s been recommended to me on Twitter, or the headline is catchy, or there was a link to it from something I was reading earlier.

You know the feeling. You will say to a friend, “I can’t even remember how I found this website/article/blog but…”

You know, chasing shiny things. I am as guilty of this as anyone…

This week, when I found myself reading an article or blog post that I didn’t intend to read, I asked myself, “Do I really care about this?”

Often (depressingly often, actually) the answer was no. And yet, there I was, giving up my time and energy for it. This topic I didn’t care about.

Kim Kardashian, for example. Or the inner workings of the Church of Scientology, as explained by Jason Lee’s ex-wife. Or the warped reasoning behind a British cyclist faking a crash in the Olympics. I don’t care. And yet, there I was.

So this week, as part of the Tech Lite Challenge, I made a significant change. When I discovered that the answer was, “No, I don’t care about this piece of information,” I closed the browser tab immediately.

I used to hate not finishing an article, even if was boring the shit out of me, or was poorly written, or was a cut and paste job from an article I’d already read. I’d still finish it out of some ridiculous notion of “doing a job well”. What an idiot.

But there are many things I do care about…

Sometimes, the answer is “Yes, I do care about this.”

It may be dealing with a subject I’m passionate about – writing, for example. Or simple living. Or intentionality. Or building blogs, business tips and technical advice.

And that’s when the second question kicks in:

2. Do I need to know about this right now?

Did I come online to find this information specifically?

Or is this something I am interested in, and will need to know further down the track?

If the answer is the former, then fantastic. Read away, get informed, take note of what you need and then get off the damn computer, go do what you need to do.

If the answer is the latter, then come up with a system for filing this information away until you do need it.

You could try Evernote (I don’t use it, but apparently it is a fantastic way of keeping track of those need-to-know-eventually pieces of information). Or, if you have an iPhone, add the link to your Reading List or Bookmarks, filed under the specific topic.

For example, I have Bookmark folders titled: Writing, Blogging, Simplifying, Technical, Recipes, Kids, etc. It helps to know where to look when I do need to know how to write a email newsletter, or make an easy chocolate cake.

 

If I learn nothing else from this Tech Lite Challenge, I already think it’s been a success. Just to learn those two questions means I have something to refer back to when I’m being sucked down the rabbithole.

 

This coming week I’m tackling the idea of mindfulness when I’m working on the computer. The automatic switching over to Twitter/YouTube/Pinterest/email when what I am working on gets boring or difficult.

In other words: digital procrastination.

 

Are you taking the Tech Lite Challenge too? Head over to Laney at Crash Test Mummy and let us know how you’re going. Do you have any fantastic tips or particular problems?

There’s no doubt life can be fast. Often too fast. Too much. Too stressful. Too overwhelming. On days like that we will tell ourselves there’s no time to slow down.
But there’s always time for a little slow, even on the busiest day. Join us for 365 Days of Slow and commit to a moment of slow, every day for a year. Learn more and sign up right here.

3 Responses to The Information Diet – Tech-Lite Challenge

  1. Hi Brooke! I won’t tell you I’ve just got home after an awesome night out in the Meatpacking District because you might get jealous ;-P, but I will tell you that I love how you’ve simplified this challenge in just one short week. Those two questions are absolute gold. I’ve done alright this week because my choice to go online whenever I want has been restricted by lack of access. I’m looking foward to the challenge of restricting that access mindfully when I get home.
    I have to say that the second question is the kicker. We often get consumed by having to do everything right now. I’m a big fan of Evernote and it has really empowered me to manage my information so it doesn’t manage me. If anyone is interested in how I’m using it, just search for Evernote on my blog, I’ve written a couple of posts. I’ve also learnt some new tips at the conference which I’ll put into use and report back on at the end of this month.
    Tonight (Sunday here) is my last night and I’m heading back home tomorrow. I’m really looking forward to getting back to my quiet simple little life. New York is fabulous, but the excesses of the US become very overwhelming!
    Laney x