information Diet

How to Create a Low Information Diet


Image courtesy of wonderlane

The internet has forever changed the way we gather information. In the past obtaining information could be tedious. If you wanted to get the financial report of a company and learn about its business, most probably you would need to visit the company personally to collect the financial reports and talk to the management. Now, with the help of the internet, anyone can easily learn the history of Walmart by googling it or searching for it on Wikipedia.

So the internet had greatly reduced the time it takes to gather information, but has it really made us more effective and efficient?

The Problem

My daily intake of information includes magazines, newspapers, news sites, email and my RSS Reader. I love the feeling of having information at my fingertips and the ability to instantly satisfy my curiosity by searching for information on Google. However, instead of getting more done, I have found my productivity has actually suffered. Because acquiring information on the internet is such an easy task, I often find myself flooded with too much new information. For an example, when I started blogging I searched for information on how to set up a blog. Google gave me so much information I didn’t know where to start. I’m also guilty of following too much blogs (currently 64) through my RSS reader. With that much to read, there is no doubt my productivity suffers if I try to clear all the unread articles.

With so much information available to us, there is a need to prevent information overload. The following are 3 tips to curb our tendency to over consume information.

3 Tips To Help Create A Low Information Diet

1. Focus

When I started blogging, I googled for topics on how to blog and found tons of information related to how to set up a blog, how to structure your blog post and how to increase your traffic. When I began to read an article on a certain topic, there would then be links in that article that I will click and be directed to another article on blogging. This just went on and on and in the end I was left feeling at loss and not knowing where to start. In order to solve this problem, I chose a single topic and stuck to reading articles on that topic. This stopped me from opening too much tabs with articles that I couldn’t possibly finish.

2. Regulate your email

Do you really need to subscribe to 20 newsletters on the same topic? It can be tempting to opt in to receive a newsletter out of fear that if we do not subscribe, we will miss out on something. But it is worth asking yourself if you truly need the newsletter or promotions and, if you don’t, to then unsubscribe. Reading email can be one of your biggest time wasters and if you do not control it, this activity can expand to take up lots of your time. Always have a specific time slot for reading email and reconsider reading all of the forwarded emails you receive.

3. Don’t Chase Blogs

Although I am following a lot of blogs, I do not try to clear my RSS reader by finishing reading all the articles. I choose a limited number of articles that I will read so that I don’t spend the whole day reading articles and doing nothing. By setting a limited number of articles to read, I take in less information and end up with more time to do other things.

Parting Words

The internet can be used to increase your productivity, but don’t allow it to bombard you with so much information that your productivity suffers. Handle the amount of information that you are taking in with care and let information be your friend instead of foe.

Do you maintain a low information diet? If so, what tips do you have for doing this?

About the writer: Vincent is the author of Hit Your Goals. If you like this article, you can subscribe to his blog to receive his latest articles or follow him on Twitter.