It was as if my thinking was being blurred. The huge flow of digital noise and useless information was derailing my focus. I had to change things up.
I used to follow the news a lot. I also spent a lot of time flicking away happily on Facebook… I’ve always thought that’s a waste of time – kind of… …but it’s what people do, right?
Not until a while I ago it really started to get to me… I started to fully realize I was not contributing anything and I was certainly not getting anything back from it. Absolutely the contrary – looping the same shit, over and over again.. Not the one.
There is this wide misconception that staying in the loop about the news all the time is somehow important for us. I don’t agree. Most mainstream news are meaningless and totally, completely irrelevant to us.
Not only that but they are also skewing our view of the world by presenting single-sided stories and politically colored views, often making a big deal out of something that in reality has little impact on people’s lives.
I’ve had people say it’s ignorant of me not to follow what’s going on in the world. That’s bollox. That’s exactly what media wants you to think so they can shove more crap down your throat (and make more money). Here’s the deal: When something really important is going on you will surely hear about it. Don’t you think?
You are not gaining anything from knowing how many people attended the gay pride march in Amsterdam last weekend or that how a storm did not hit Shanghai yesterday. Just a couple of examples of news I picked from the main page of YLE-news (Finland’s biggest and most “serious” news network) when writing this.
Don’t you think you are being ignorant towards yourself and those around you by wasting your time on something useless? Is wasting time the purpose of your life?
To say it’s entertainment is a poor excuse. You could do something better instead. News, Facebook and such all serve one of the most primal of traits – our curiosity. Yes you must feed your curiosity and nourish your mind. But to feed it with crap is like eating at MacDonalds. In fact your mind is exactly like your body – it needs something good to build and thrive on. Otherwise it’s dead end, bye bye.
A simple decision
I’ve pretty much quit watching telly. I don’t really follow the news and such on the web anymore, unless there is something going on I want to find out about. I don’t spend time reading the newspapers either. I unfollowed about 100 people on my Twitter list. Hidden loads of people on Facebook. Nothing personal, just too many people and too much noise. I’m not a small talk person anyway – I rather get something done. I just didn’t find all that nonsense contributing in my life in any way.
As far as entertainment goes, I find it much more entertaining these days to spend time either working on something nice or learning about something that truly fascinates me. Facebook and Twitter can be useful – it depends on who you follow and what you do with them (or more to the point: what you don’t). Don’t be a zombie.
Be ruthless. There’s nothing to worry about – it’s easy to find out about something when the real need arises. There are also tools such as RSS that let us control precisely what we want to read.
It may sound like a big change and I guess it is. The thing is though, for me it’s been really effortless – even automatic. Nothing but a simple decision to spend my time better.
The result? I’m getting more ideas, my focus is much better and I have more time to spend on the important things in my life.
Reap the benefits
Clean up your mind from clutter. Shut down the noise. The benefits are massive. This is something that works for you quietly, without you having to sacrifice a thought.
Fill the newly created space with something that inspires you. I find myself reading a lot these days and learning new skills, and of course making more music.
Feed your brain with new interesting ideas. Get learning. Get creating. Do some exersice. Or simply do nothing, relax and enjoy the solitude. Start a meditation practice.
What are your thoughts on this? What have you done to improve your focus? Post your thoughts in the comments.