Information addiction, just say no

Posted by Stephen M. Nipper at August 18, 2005 12:40 AM

I’ve looked on with wonder this week as I read the three previous posts left by my fellow rethinkers. First, Doug’s post about ignoring his RSS mistress for so long that he feared revisiting her, then Matt’s post about the need to cut the cord, finally, Doug’s post on bloggers on vacation. What was amazing to me was that I could have written any of those posts. Scary!

It’s clear…we’ve all taken some time off this summer. Our post frequency has been down on our “other” blogs (The Invent Blog, PHOSITA, Promote The Progress) as well as here. Some might say we have “checked out,” but the reality is that the three of us have independently been doing some serious “rethinking” of our own. Rethinking life, rethinking work, and rethinking rethink(ip). For me, I’ve found this rethinking process has resulted in me (1) reading fewer blogs and (2) spending less time late at night sucking at the teat called the Internet.

I’ve been weaned.

I’ve cut the number of blogs I read EVERY day down to 15 from 140+. I stopped checking my email every 10 minutes every hour of the day. I’ve even left Skype and Trillian (slick program that lets me log into MSN, AOL and Yahoo instant messaging accounts) off occasionally. I am making an effort to unplug myself. It makes me want to stand up in front of all of you and say “Hi, my name is Stephen and I’m an information addict.”

What have I learned in the process?

The less blogs I read, the closer I read the ones I do read. My RSS overload had caused me to regularly delete blog posts in my “in” pile as fast as I could just to get through them. The result is that I was missing all sorts of great content. Now I have a “must read” pile and everyone else is in the “if I have nothing better to do with my life” pile. Sorry if you are in that pile. Don’t let the good blogs get diluted by how easy it is to add another blog to your aggregator. Just say no. Reading blogs is not an all you can eat buffet.

I’ve also found that stepping back for a while helps you put things in perspective (see my previous bucket post for exactly what I am talking about). This project is a lot of fun…but the reality is that we are all just a hole in that bucket of water.

Finally, I’ve been reminded that email is a tool, not an organ. It isn’t part of you…you can leave it at the office. You don’t have to feed or water it all weekend. Let it be.

So, if you find yourself suffering from information overload…it might be time to say “no” for a change. Step away from the BlackBerry before someone gets hurt.

Photo via here. Yes, it is another udder pic, deal with it.

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