Avoid Toxic Information

cindy project v berkeley
Berkeley, 2015 #cindyproject

We often think that more information is better.

In reality, more information can be toxic. The more information you have, the more misinformation you often have.

The problem is that information consumes our attention. Most information is noise, and distracts us.

What we are seeking for is “signal” — the little bit of information which is actually useful to you.

My simple suggestion: everyday seek to cut away a little bit of noise (in terms of information) from your life.

For example, we all have different preferences for the information we consume. But there is a lot of “junk food” in terms of information.

We know what that is. It is often social media, distracting blogs, or websites that we know isn’t good for us, but we are addicted anyways.

Personally, I am addicted to tech sites, social media, and everything that promises exciting and “new” things.

How I fight my distractions

For me, to have the “will” to avoid distractions hasn’t worked. The only thing that has worked is to tie myself to the mast— like what Ulysses did to avoid the sirens.

Some strategies I’ve employed:

1. Install website blockers

For Safari, you can install the “Waste no Time” plugin — which prevents you from visiting certain websites you deem distracting.

For Google Chrome, you can install the “StayFocusd” plugin, which does the same.

2. Uninstall distracting apps

Everyday, I try to uninstall one distracting app from my phone or laptop everyday. And I’m always surprised— whenever I think a certain app is “indispensable”, I find out it is often a distraction.

I’ve made it a bit of a game— to uninstall at least one app a day. Get to the point where you only have the absolute essentials, and you will find a lot less distractions, and more focus.

3. Disable notifications

We all have felt it — “phantom vibrations” from our smartphone in our pocket. We feel our phone vibrate, pick it up, and actually nothing happened.

I’ve made it a point to disable app my notifications— text-messages, SMS, messages, email (I don’t have email installed in my phone), and anything that causes a pop-up to show up in my phone or laptop.

By disabling notifications, you’re in control. You can control your things when you want to. And not only that, but when I’m trying to get real work done (blogging/writing/etc) I turn off my wifi, turn off my phone (all the way off, or in airplane mode), and it is incredible how much work I can get.

What information empowers you?

Information is important. But you only want to consume the information which is truly important to you.

Don’t be afraid of missing out (FOMO — fear of missing out). The truth is all the really important information will eventually have a way of reaching you.

So kill distractions, and find focus and zen in your life. You will be able to consume the information which empowers you, rather than the junk food information which kills your focus, attention, and mental energy.

Stay focused,

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