I'm Going on an (Information) Diet

It’s been 14 days since I’ve disconnected from the larger grid.

No news. No aimless web surfing. No status updates or Insta-anythings™. Even harder for me though, no Hacker News and no Dribbble (and no links to those sites in case you’re trying to avoid them too).

Another thing of the past? Constant 24-7 email checking. No more reading email in bed before I go to sleep. Or worse, reading in bed for 20 minutes after just waking up.

I now check my email (all 4 accounts) twice a day and that’s it. I find 12pm & 4pm to work just fine. What a tall order considering I use email to run a few of my businesses.

But guess what?

So far, not a single missed opportunity. No angry customers or clients. No world-ending emergencies.

Instead I’m now more productive and focused than ever. I’m spending more time with my loved ones and more time doing the things I care about.

My wife is even giving it a go too. What’s worse than competing against a smart phone for your partner’s attention? A lot of things, but you get the point.

Want to try this yourself?

  1. Remove all your time-wasting apps. Get rid of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, NPR, Podcasts, etc from your phone and other devices.
  2. Stop the automatic email flood. Instead of 100 vibrating interruptions throughout the day, set your mobile email to manually fetch email only when you want it. You’re battery life will improve too - bonus!
  3. Check & respond to email only 1-2 times a day. Don’t leave your email app or tabs open either. When you’re checking and responding to email do that and only that.
  4. Limit TV watching and other leisure activities. Work on a side project or hobby instead.
  5. Use a simple daily task list. Now that you’ve freed up a bunch of time don’t waste it. Use a simple task list to get 1-2 high priority tasks done each day. I’ve been using a bullet journal for a few months and love it.
  6. Disconnect. Nothing improves your state of mind and helps you do better work than stepping away from everything for a bit. Go outside and try new things.

The last thing I want to highlight though is that this isn’t about ultra efficiency and cramming more productive work hours into the day. For me it’s quite the opposite. I want to work less and spend more quality time doing the things I love. Removing a lot of the above has helped me to do just that by freeing up several hours per day.

‘Editors’ footnote - since starting my diet Facebook has sent me 12 (TWELVE!!) emails about missed status updates, group invites and messages. Wow.