Stop following the news.

The central idea behind this concept is pretty straightforward: news consumption, especially the constant, 24/7 kind, can take a toll on our productivity, mental health, and even our outlook on life. The concept is not about burying our heads in the sand but about choosing what, when, and how much news we consume.

In his book ‘Deep Work’, Cal Newport argues that uncontrolled consumption of news can clutter our minds, leading to fragmented attention. Our brains are wired to focus on one thing at a time, and the continuous bombardment of information from different sources can exhaust our mental resources, leaving little room for deep, focused work.

Now you might ask, ‘But, don’t we need to stay informed?’

Of course, we do. But the question is – informed about what?

A study from the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that constant exposure to negative news can trigger stress and anxiety, which in turn can impact our creativity, mood, and overall productivity.

As an example, let me tell you a little bit about Rolf Dobelli.

Rolf is a Swiss author who decided to completely stop following the news for an entire year. And he wrote about his experiences in an essay called ‘Avoid News’. At the end of the experiment, Rolf found that his life quality improved significantly – he was less stressed, more focused, and even more conversationally engaging since he wasn’t regurgitating the same headlines everyone else was.

He realised that truly newsworthy events usually found their way to him through friends, family, or just being out in the world, minus all the unnecessary noise.

So, the idea isn’t to completely ditch all news but to become selective. Instead of mindlessly scrolling through social media or news websites, consider setting aside specific times to catch up on news or subscribing to a weekly summary of the top news stories. This way, you remain informed without the unnecessary clutter and emotional drain.

Think of this like a diet for your mind. Much like how we’ve become more mindful of what we eat, it’s also essential to be mindful of the information we consume. After all, our brains deserve a balanced diet too.

So, next time you’re about to dive into the never-ending news stream, take a pause. Maybe your time and mind could be better spent elsewhere.

Quote of the Day

Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.
Stephen King (On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft)

Tool of the Day

📆 Fantastical

Fantastical is a really pretty calendar app that works seamlessly across your Mac, iPad, iPhone, and Apple Watch (yep, it’s Mac only unfortunately). One of the really great things about Fantastical is its natural language processing. For example, if you want to create a new calendar event, you can just type ‘15th of April 3-5pm, meeting with Becky at Nandos’. And Fantastical will add that to your calendar with all the relevant information. So, if your life revolves around your calendar, this app is incredible.