Curing My “Too Much Content Disease”

I’ve once taken pride in calling myself an ‘info junkie’. While it sounds cool, it actually isn’t.

Chaibizi — Medium — Bio

When placed in direct comparison with volume of execution, the gulf is ‘hella’ wide. This is certainly not good.

At the turn of the new year, this got exposed after reviewing the last. My primary response was to place an embargo on digesting irrelevant content, starting by not going back to lost archives or trying to run mental recaps. From experience, this clogs my mental bandwidth.

An article crossed my path yesterday, with which I’m equipped to make this sojourn into content digestion minimalism.

This comes on the heels of a new resolve to read more blogs books (haven’t even started any). The good thing this time is that I perfectly understand the contradiction.

But, what is irrelevant content?

Honestly, it feels strange that I have this answer with so much clarity.
At the turn of the dotcom bubble, I filled my email with countless newsletter subscription. I had lots of email addresses too. It was an experiment of some sort.
I repeated the same when I left the university. It was so bad that I was happy that I lost access to the Yahoo email.

Between 2013 and 2014, I returned to the habit. Armed with a new Gmail, I resumed my sporadic subscriptions to newsletters, after a short chill. I fell for the blog reading bug. It got worse when I saw it as a cheaper way to gain knowledge. It was a waste of time because the information never really stuck.

Surprising right? I found out here.

What then is the cure to this disease?

Writing this article and publishing it, means I’ve started the first dose. Yes, writing.
Doing it in less than 24 hours of realising is a another topic miracle. I hope to repeat it on a more regular basis.

Another is clearing my inbox. Luckily, Gmail already sorts my email by types. Unfortunately, the unread counters for the irrelevant email types still distracts me.  A “mass unsubscribe” is the only way out (I could start reading the emails I want to unsubscribe from and waste the hours I don’t really have).

So,

Writing
Starting with free-writing, but not just reflective writing. More interest-driven research and documented findings, following Sean Smith’s format:

  1. Defining a question
  2. Gaining perspective
  3. Doing research
  4. Asking people’s opinions
  5. Applying what you learned
  6. Testing, breaking and reiterating
  7. Forming your own conclusion
  8. Writing what you found
  9. Responding to comments and debating responses

Will most likely prune the steps to suit my own individual processes.

Inbox Zero (and less email clutter)
I have already disconnected from impulsive email checks, thanks to Gmail’s filtering. Next up is to use a mass unsubscribe tool or service on a yet to be determined date.

Uninstalling attention sucking mobile apps (even LinkedIn)
Yes, LinkedIn is gone. No Facebook and Instagram. Contemplating on removing Twitter and BBM. Lost interest in Clash of Clans. Currently fighting the urge to download FIFA 15.

Save every article that cannot be read immediately (if the impulse sets in) to Instapaper and Readability

Read more paper books

As Sean Smith concluded:

If there is a general principle I would like you to take away from this post, it would be to absorb what will help embrace your own creativity. Don’t subscribe to fluff. Absorb content that will make you think laterally, or information that answers a direct question. Write content that will help you learn and that you’re genuinely interested in, not just to have another topic under your belt.

And the legend:

“Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own.” – Bruce Lee

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