Information Overload/Information Detox

Interesting article here on Life hack – Do You Need an Information Detox?

(equally amusing to me was the google ad offering a free colon hydrotherapy consultation. Oh, Google ads – #FAIL)

I’ve been thinking about Information and just how  – MUCH of it there is lately – it may be, of course that we are officially back in the swing of things (where did September go?) and the provincial election, Toronto City Council, season openers of varying hits and misses, along with what’s going on with our neighbours south of the border and Facebook invites  and apparently a Kardashian got married and Nuit Blanche is coupled with Culture Days and there are six birthdays today and well, you get the picture. And the things I’ve mentioned are probably less than a percent of a percent of a percent of the amount of information that we are expected to consume. I say expected because it’s in our faces.

This is information overload, and as the article asks – do you need a detox?

Probably. So in the article there’s a list of things you can do, for a week or a day or something:

1. Switch off your phone when you get home from work. – not really. It’s my phone, it’s my way of  actually communicating with people, not just a work mechanism. But I could switch it off at a later time. Or put it on silent – I know I’m at overload point where the sound of it (tone or vibrate) makes me want to throw it out the window. Like right now. It’s MOO-ing at me.

2. Don’t use your phone on your way to and from work. Listen to music or read a novel. – okay this I can do. It’s fiddling with my phone, mostly, it’s killing time waiting for the TTC etc. I used to read and listen to my iPod on the streetcar. Or talk to someone, or smile at a baby. I could do that again.

3. Don’t access Facebook and Twitter for one week. – no. No I could not do this given that my work is heavily based on social media. But I could stop wandering aimlessly around those sites, looking for things, and only look at it if there’s an actual notification. Let’s say three.

4. Don’t read any material that is not uplifting and motivational. – an interesting challenge. I’ll have to think about that one.

5. Turn off all email notifications or any other social media messages. – okay we covered that earlier. I can do that. (now the phone is BLINKING at me. Slowly, inexorably blinking.)

6. Do not watch the television for one week. – does it count that all I really watch are formulaic courtroom dramas, anything in the Law and Order franchise and Criminal Minds? I guess so. Perhaps this could be treated the same way as #2 – if there’s nothing specific on to watch, then no watching or surfing.

7. No newspapers, online news or any other form of world news access. – again can’t do – we’re in the midst of upheaval at Toronto City Council, a provincial election in the next week and a bit, and I am involved in those things. But something I thought of last night was to perhaps hearken back to the days of yore, when the newspaper was on paper and it came out once a day and you read it and that was the news for the day. And occasionally something might have changed by the 11:00 news but more often that not – that was the news. I will read the news twice a day, rather than checking back in far too regularly over the course of the day.

Other options I’ve been busily working on are  – UNSUBSCRIBE. I’ve hit unsubscribe on so many things that it’s unbelievable.  It’s cut my morning email down by more than half.  Ditto my Google reader. If it’s a site I look at regularly without a reminder, there’s no need for it to be on my reader.

Something I used to do was participate in “Acoustic Sundays”. Nothing that required electricity for entertainment. And there’s been a huge cut back on the number of back-and-forths used to arrange a simple outing. I can’t stand it anymore. Remember the olden days? You’d call to say let’s have brunch and okay, let’s meet Sunday at 11:00 at the Gladstone and it was agreed to, no “can I let you know?” and there was maybe one confirmation call and everyone just SHOWED UP and ate pancakes together without any more calls, texts or emails? Let’s get back to that. Let’s go back to just showing up.

It helps that as of next Monday I start a new course for ten weeks for entrepreneurs on how to properly build and establish your own business. I’m excited. In the world I inhabit, too many times you become the marketer because someone has to do it, or you get some new software and boom! you’re the accountant. So two days a week I am back in school, which means eight hours a day of being unplugged. I will be blogging about my adventures. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, are any of those suggestions speaking to you? Are you in need of an information detox?


PS I found out my author in the library contest – I shall be lunching with Michael Ondaantje.

PPS I am entirely aware that I am probably one of your information overload bits. : )


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