A lot of people ask me how I find the time to keep up on social media, technology news and all the rest. It would seem, for many people, that there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all.

I agree, it’s a challenge. We’ve got so much information bombarding us on a daily basis, that there’s barely enough time to process it all, let alone actually absorb it. The reality is, these days we are truly living in the Information Age. Gone are the days when information arrived on our doorstep with the morning or evening paper. Now, information is all around us, and it can be pretty overwhelming.

A few years ago, I did one thing that helped me immensely. I gave up reading the news.

Now, before you go getting yourself all out of sorts, (I can hear people saying, “But you NEED to know what’s going on in the world!”) let me explain.

I used to read the newspaper every single morning. Like many of you, it would arrive on my doorstep. I’d collect it, and sit down with my breakfast, as the latest headlines glared at me from the front page. And what was it, mostly? Murder. Economic woes. Poverty. War. I would grow tired of the negative headlines in the newspaper and turn on the TV news instead. That was often worse!

Not exactly the most positive way to start off the day, eh?

Then the social web came along, and with it, the ability for me to subscribe to things I wanted to read about. This was a life-altering moment for me, when I realized that no longer did I have to just consume the headlines that were forced upon me. I could consume the information I wanted to consume, in a customized, relevant way.

Now, this doesn’t mean I am sticking my head in the sand when it comes to the events of the day. Quite the contrary. I’m still well versed on the economy. I follow politics, and the situtation in the Middle East. But I only consume this type of information when I want to consume it, and on the schedule I choose. I go to sources that are not sensationalist, but provide only the facts.

Nowadays, my morning coffee is made up of insightful blog posts and news articles, and conversations with friends via things like Twitter and Facebook. I am not bombarded by negative, sensationalized stories of doom and gloom, because the Web allows me to choose and filter, so I can have the experience I want to have.

Want to re-shape your experience of news? Have a more positive start and end to the day, and have more time to keep up on what is happening in your industry or the areas you are passionate about?

Stop consuming what is thrown at you. Start consuming what you want to consume.

photo credit: Kevin Dooley

4 Responses

  1. I’ve really been struggling with figuring out how to consume news, blog posts, everything! But I recently discovered flipboard and zite on my iPad and they are making everything into an easy to scan and skim newspaper/magazine and it’s changing everything! Suddenly I’m reading so much more again and loving it! Sometimes I even flip through the news section 😉

  2. I like this post… But I want to add that the ability to choose our sources of information also puts the onus on us to include sources from people who do not share our views/opinions/morals. Being able to choose your information “inputs” means you have the luxury, should you choose to exercise it, of being able to also ignore anyone who disagrees with you — and that has the long-term effect of polarizing people and making healthy discourse difficult. I think we see the effect of this all the time, now.

    Not that you do this, of course. Just thought it was a point you didn’t touch on 😉

    1. The onus is also on following weather updates. Imagine my surprise when I heard the forecast was a hurricane a few months back; news to me until the last minute because I didn’t follow weather.

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