📰 Our Brain vs. The News

How I'm countering my digital hangover.

“The goal of media is to make every problem, your problem” - Naval Ravikant

I read that a little over a month ago, and suddenly the amount of mental fatigue that was stopping me from doing anything functional made perfect sense.

My consistently “meh” mood, my avoidance of any content forwarded to me - it all made sense as well.

Here’s a stat that’s insane: The average adult in 2018 spent 3 hours and 15 minutes on their phone. I’ve had periods where I exceeded that on the regular. Not proud.

And when we’re talking about “spending time” on our phones, what this really means is consuming media. Whether it’s from Twitter, Reddit or Instagram, the algorithms are gauging our demographic, preferences, and what’s popular on the platform - then sending it straight to us.

Often, this stuff is a complete overload, even if it’s content that you want to consume, even if it’s education - it’s overkill.

With a constant influx of content coming in, we need to realize that there’s no free lunch. We can’t have all this stimulus without a hangover. Unfortunately, that hangover comes in the form of a reduced attention span, a constant need for more stimulus, and a declining ability to reflect.

Initially, I thought, screw it, I’m just going to avoid the news and media altogether. But with that wilful ignorance comes a cost too - you become detached from what’s going on in all the spaces you were once paying attention to; it’s not a great solution.

A previous solution of mine was to delete all time-suck apps from my phone and have a dedicated time to consume them on my computer. But with every platform being mobile-first and phones being the default driver these days - it’s been difficult to do that too.

So I experimented with a few new methods.

Here’s what’s been working for me, and you’ll notice that these aren’t very new, which is good. It means they work.

🍻 Curing The Digital Hangover

The idea is to reduce stimulus and increase the ability for self-reflection.

Reduce

Firstly, I’ve reduced my media sources only to get what matters to me the most. I read Morning Brew for business news, for a podcast, I listen to Tim Ferriss - anything else comes to me from friends.

  • I reduce notifications with the liberal use of airplane mode on my phone.

  • I set hours to check emails and other distractions.

  • I set hours for entertainment.

Is this perfect? Hell no, but it’s been working so far. There’s no FOMO, and it’s freeing me up to be more critical and aware of other things that pop up.

Reflect

I included this in the link dump 2 weeks ago, but I’m expanding on it here.

An hour, yes, a full hour, in the morning of meditation, is fantastic. Sitting there, unguided, and letting the mind do what it feels like doing. There’s no wrong way to do it.

Historically, I’ve struggled to do this in general, specifically in the morning, because that’s my most productive few hours. It feels unproductive to sit there and do “nothing” for such a long period.

But it’s quite the contrary; it can be one of the most productive things we do. It teaches us to be okay with not receiving stimuli. It’s a daily exercise in being okay with our thoughts. Some of the deepest concerns we’re not aware of may come out of these sessions.

It’s been a game-changer for my digital hangover. The guy from the quote above recommends everyone try it for at least 60 days. I mean, we’ve all wasted more than 60 hours over the past 2 months; why not give this a try?


📆 Last Week

If you were waiting for an email from me last week and didn’t get one, it was because my brain was out of commission. I’m deciding on a better direction to take these weekly nuggets of thoughts and didn’t think I had any value to add last week.

Why send you something subpar, right?

Consistency is great, but value is better.

With so much value out there, I’m moving towards showing you where it is versus creating it from scratch.

Now, nobody wants to be a 5-Bullet Friday copy-cat, but personal stories and learnings aren’t always coming in troves. Luckily, what I find cool is hopefully in line with what you find cool - this is where the value comes (hopefully) 😎


🔗 Link Dump


That’s it for this week, ladies and gents, enjoy and take it easy :)

Thanks,

Sah