There are many things of which a wise man might wish to be ignorant.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. ~Albert Einstein
If you are like me, you spent a good deal of your day with your computer on, Outlook (or whatever email server you use) running in the background, several browser screens going throughout the day, as well as a Word document or two and maybe even some Excel spreadsheets thrown in for good measure. Yet, even with all this “work” open, I can waste a day with the best of them. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that I will also have music playing and/or the TV on as well. I am thoroughly immersed in noise and distraction. And most of this noise is negative and overblown. Don’t believe me, watch your local news and tell me what you see.
In 2008, I am committing to an information fast. I am going to unplug from most of the information sources I have sought and seek to spend more time with family, friends, or outside. This actually started on a smaller scale about two months ago, which was the last time I watched a local news broadcast.
What I am proposing is an information diet. This starts with employing some selective ignorance. When I take more charge of my personal life and my family life, I don’t need to know as much about what others are doing. I become more concerned about what I am doing. This produces action. Many times my wife and I have had the discussion about not enjoying a particular season or phase of life. What breaks us free from this gloominess is action. Life and relationship design is about massive action.
If you are interested in producing more action as you design your relationship and unplug from the cyber information world, here are a few suggestions:
Take an inventory of the information and noise sources you consume each day. Rate them each as necessary, irrelevant to your goals, negative, or beyond your concern. Be honest. I will bet that much of the information you consume is in the latter three categories.
The next step is to unplug from all but the necessary. Focus on consuming only the information important for you and your family’s goals each day. Then pull the plug on these sources everyday at a set time, say 7 PM, in order to spend time with your spouse and family. This includes business and personal emails, phone calls, time wasting TV shows, etc. Let voicemail do its job. Save your correspondence until the next day, then take a focused hour and get it all done. With the time you will free up by unplugging, do something together. Go to bed early, talk, play legos with your kids. Trust me, the information you may miss when you unplug isn’t that important anyway. If there is something that is truly an emergency, you’ll hear about it. But the time you spend with your family and marriage is worth it. It will produce more action, which will generate more energy, which will allow more freedom to design the relationship and family you desire.
When it comes to information, less is more. Focusing on what matters and what is in line with your values and goals then will change your life.