Recently I have started to look at things that I spend time on that don’t make me happy. The first thing I gravitated towards was social media. I recently wrote about that in my detox plan for it. The next thing that ended up on my very short list was the news.
Over the years I have written several times about my love hate relationship with the news. These two entries from August & September 2005 one from 2005. Another one from 2012. As a young kid I used to watch it and be fascinated by it. By my late 20s I was jaded by the 24-hour news cycle. I spent the better part of the last 20 years avoiding and then binging on the news. The only exception is tech news. I’ve been pretty consistently reading that. Tech news usually doesn’t depress me and it helps me stay current in my profession.
With all that’s going on in the world today I’m not getting very much positive out of reading the news every day. I have kept doing it because I want to stay informed. When I read several different sources talking about how I statistically would be happier not reading it I thought about ignorance is bliss. It is. In this case there’s really not much I can do when I read headlines. So what do I get out of it? I want to be informed however is being informed worth being miserable? I’ve tried being miserably informed for a while and it does not feel like working so I will try ignorant happiness.
Practically speaking when I have a coffee or eat lunch or commute I browse headlines via RSS feeds. I also read a few key websites. Even after curating down what sources I look at each day I am still depressed by what I read on general news sites.
The habit I plan to change is to stop looking at news sites altogether. As a start I will also cut out the vast majority of the RSS feeds I read. I will still look at some technology, productivity, mindfulness, and entertainment (Sci-Fi) sites. It’s hard to go cold turkey so I will keep looking at those since I find them interesting. The technology sites also help in staying current with the industry or so I keep telling myself.
I know that simply browsing articles even if they’re not stress inducing news articles is not good for me. I figure that what I proposed to do is a good transition. With the time I free up white like to spend it reading more books. I have a queue of them lined up. All I have to do is start reading them. The hardest part I think is building that new routine that doesn’t include looking at new sites & feeds. I almost by muscle memory will type in theguardian.co.uk when I have a spare minute. It is hard to stop myself. Instead I want to start taking spare time I have and use it to update my journal in Day One. Or something else more productive than reading news. Once I get started I hope to cut down on the other things I plan to keep reading at first. Over time I hope to transition those interests into books of the same topic instead of 2-5 minute articles.
As with my attempt to cut out social media or drastically reduce it only time will tell how successful I am. By the time this is posted I should hopefully have a routine down. Successful or not I hope to touch back on this topic in a few months to see how I did.