Watch this humorous and informative video to discover how Technology is consuming our mind and preventing our brain from useful thinking and working:
Low Information Diet
I recently started realizing that out of the infinitely long list of things that are pending to read – there is no way I can read so much, even if I had all the time in this world. I started experiencing a sense of unrest and uneasiness. I started looking of a way out until I bumped across the famous Einstein’s energy equation.
The essence of this formula is – “energy is never lost, it’s always exchanged”. Applying this to the idea of consuming low information diet – the information (input) we take should have a proportionate output in some form – it could be actual implementation of idea in life, a real improvements, sharing with others or creation of new knowledge.
If there is an imbalance between input and output – we are certainly going to experience uneasiness – because energy is never lost, it’s always exchanged.
Here are some simple conclusions I came up with after applying Einstein’s’ energy formula to knowledge work:
- Read only so much which you can absorb
- Read only to the extent to which you can utilize the knowledge somewhere (implement)
- Your Input (reading) should be directly proportional to your producing (getting output or result of that reading)
What’s the way out?
The way I figured out is “Learning to Ignore”. Just the way it’s important to say ‘No’ to your commitments (something I learned after implementing GTD), I realized that learning to “Ignore” seemingly useful information is also equally important.
Here is how you can begin to Ignore information:
- Define your purpose – The kind of knowledge you want to get depends on how you want to live your life and type of things you want to do. For example, if your short term goal is weight loss, you can subscribe to weight loss related content. But if your short-term goal is starting a business, then you can unsubscribe to content related weight loss until you are ready to start again.
- Narrow down your focus – Keeping a broad spectrum of things in your role or responsibility or having too many goals will make you run after all related information. Narrowed focus will allow you to be master in your field and bring a sense of ease.
- Direct your curiosity towards discovering from within – Be curious about what comes from within. Try to introspect, synthesize and structure your ideas. You will be amazed at the kind of knowledge that lies within you. It’s just a matter of discovering and taking it out.
These ideas are certainly not a silver bullet but they have worked for me. I am still learning from the experiences.
What are your productivity hacks to consume a low information diet?
Productivity has a direct relationship with the quantity and quality of information we consume on a daily basis. Knowingly or unknowingly, we spend time in consuming ‘nice to have’ information. Such information is usually very interesting but mostly useless and contributes to the biggest killer of time.
The reason why we keep consuming such information is because we are unmindful about it. If we start distinguishing and skipping the ‘nice to have but useless’ information, we could save a lot of time and mental energy to do really productive stuff. Let us try to distinguish the type of information we consume everyday. The type of information we consume usually falls in one of the three categories below:
- Time sensitive information – Project delivery deadline, new customer lead, bills, tax intimation, travel information and many such information pieces are quite critical and requires immediate action. If we do not take prompt action, it could pose a serious threat to our work-ability.
- Should have information – Information we use in our projects and main stream work falls into this category. It could be analytics, subject matter books, blogs and useful knowledge that has direct impact on quality of our line of work.
- Nice to have information – Breaking news, friend’s dog giving birth to a puppy, get rich quick schemes, social media gossips, lifestyle magazines – the list is endless. Such information is usually spicy and interesting but not entirely useful.
The ‘nice to have’ information pose the biggest threat to productivity. Such information if consumed in high degree can cause stress, anxiety, loss of creativity, lack of original thinking, loos of inner peace and feeling of incompetency. Recent studies have shown that facebook can make you unhappy.
The key to being productive is to identify the type of information before consuming it and then take a decision to not consume if it is ‘nice to have’ information. You can do this by making a conscious effort. The easiest way to do this is by asking three simple questions to yourself:
- Is this information relevant to my line of work?
- What will I loose if I don’t consume this information right now?
- Can I live without this information?
If you start practicing these three questions and really honor your answer, your mind will get a lot of open space to create something remarkable. By consuming a low information diet, you may experience a lot of inner peace, freedom and being at ease with yourself.
What do you want to be? Information-hoalic or a creative superstar?