Last summer, I listed 7 things that I’d given up so that I can read and write more. Today, I want to mention to more things that fall onto this list. One is fairly recent, and a deliberate decision. The other has been going on for a long time now, but equally deliberate. Since I’m appending these to the things I’ve previously listed, I’ll number them 8 and 9 respectively.
8. Actively following the news
I have mixed feelings about this one because I think it is important to be an informed citizen. But I haven’t found the news to be particularly informative in years. I gave up reading newspapers a long time ago. The only time I catch a news broadcast on TV is when I happen to be somewhere outside my own house were the news is on. I used to actively check news sites online, but I’ve even stopped doing that.
I get most of my news these day, when I see something on Twitter. In those cases, I’ll click on the link and spend a minute or two reading and deciding if it is worth pursuing any further. Most of the time, it isn’t. The time I don’t spend watching the news gives me back time to spend with the family, or read an interesting book or article.
I may not be as informed about current events as I once was, but my peace of mind is in a much better place than it was when I followed the news closely. To me, that is a tradeoff worth making.
I have some automation set up to send these blog posts to Facebook, and when I Tweet stuff with Buffer, that also goes to my Facebook Author Page. But since mid-December, I am no longer actively engaged in Facebook. I might check my personal Facebook account once or twice per week, whereas I used to check it hourly.
This has done wonders for my mental well-being. I would regularly see so much that I considered idiocy on Facebook that I would grow frustrated. Now, that frustration is gone. It is very much an out-of-site, out-of-mind thing, but I feel much better for it. I wonder if this is a more general trends we’ll see over the next few years as social media stabilizes and finds its niche in society.
I should add that while in my previous post on this subject, I mentioned that I’d pretty much given up personal coding projects, I have, lately, been doing a little bit more of this than I used to. Nothing big, nothing earth-shattering, and I’ve written about a few of the projects I’ve worked on (here and here and here). But I usually don’t work on that stuff until I’ve got my writing done for the day.
On the whole, I’d say I’m a happier person for having given up these things. And I really do have more time to read and write because of it.
Re: the news, who was it who said: “If you don’t read the news you are uninformed and if you DO read the news you are misinformed!” Unfortunately, I take the same approach. There is little that is relevant these days it seems.