Are We Addicted to Information? My Information Detox.
I’m a natural learner -
I love to learn from others. I constantly read blogs, books, self help articles — anything really that I can get my hands on. I’ve probably ingested all the material that a normal person would probably read in their entire lifetime.
And while I believe this to be a positive attribute of mine, this go- getter- ready to learn attitude — sometimes it can be a downfall when it’s taken wayyyyy to an extreme — which in my case I think it was.
By constantly ingesting and ingesting, I never really gave myself time to process any of the material -
I would constantly ingest, but what happened to the digesting?
Well I completely forgot about that part.
Inspired by the rockstar Tim Ferris 4WW — and a push in the butt from my marketing coach, I decided that it was time for an INFORMATION DETOX!
What did this mean?
This meant that for 1 week, I was going to do without checking any blogs, any podcasts, read any books in the self help area.
The purpose was to see how much time I had left to actually digest the material and see what it was that I could create.
Before going into this detox, I have to admit I was a bit frightened to do this.
For the past 2 years, I’ve relied on these posts to keep me fueled.
To be honest, I think I was also hiding behind these articles as well. By reading these articles, it meant that I didn’t really have to create anything myself. I could just constantly keep reading and reading and reading -without having the time to create something.
But like any challenge, I would accept it. and I did.
What happened in that week?
Well at first, I must admit, It was a bit uncomfortable. The first day, I was working online, and I was writing an article. I got stumped on a particular topic. So my natural urge was to look at another site and see what they said about this topic.
But I stopped myself. Information detox I thought to myself.
The next time I got the urge, was when I was meditating. I have been trying to get a better meditation down in the morning. I was feeling like I was a bit frazzled, and I couldn’t properly get into the deep breathing. So I was about to go up and check the internet for what they would say to do when you were frazzled. But I thought about my information diet, and I made myself sit there and continue meditating. After giving myself the chance to get into it, I sank deep into the meditation.
By the end of the week, I was actually starting to feel awesome about this information diet. I didn’t really have as strong of an urge to get to the computer. Whenever I had a problem, or challenged, instead of going to the computer to get the answer. I usually took a step back, stopped what I was doin. And gave myself some space to come up with information naturally.
Results from the experiment.
After one week, I had created 3 blog posts, and started a speech that I was procrastinating working on. How’s that for results…
Plus, I was feeling less stressed out and more creative.
So, What exactly did I learn from the experiment?
I saw challenges as times for growing.
I saw that there were patterns that were when I was looking for the internet for help. I usually reached for the internet for help when I felt frustrated, or challenged. I was looking for an easy solution, to solve any problem/ or creative frustration I was having at the time.
When I stopped and paused, I saw that these were times were just challenges to see what I could come up with. I changed my perspective on these experience, and instead sought to see them as areas where I could overcome whatever I was fustrated with at the moment — and they slowly changed to growing experiences.
Usually I had the answers myself.
The times where I was looking up new information were usually a bit unnecessary. I saw that most times I had the answer myself, I just wasn’t giving myself the space and time to figure them out. I ended up solving most of my own questions! I gave myself the space to practice some of the things that I’ve already learned.
My work became much more authentic.
As I stopped looking for others for support, I was able to come up with some pretty authentic information of my own. My creations didn’t feel like they were anyone else’s anymore, but they felt like my own creations.
Information was taking up the space to use for reflection
I saw from my experiment, that I was filtering in new information during times that I could be reflecting. Most of the times that I wanted to go and look at new information, were usually times when I had space after I completed an assignment. Instead of filling that time with information, I decided that these times were better for downtime, and reflection times — which acted as a nice medium to fuel me before the next assignment.
I was hiding behind the information because I was scared to show my true self.
I saw that maybe I was just hiding behind information. As I filled my time with other information, it didn’t really force me to create anything on my own. This gave me a really easy way out. By creating something, meant that I had to show myself to the world, and that was scary for me! This time, I had nothing to hide from — but I had to go out and take action — (or just sit at the computer and do nothing)
Information can be an overload.
From my information detox, I learned that looking at too much information can be a bit of an overwhelming. During the experiment, I was feeling much more relaxed and calm. I didn’t have so many solutions, or choices to choose from — I just had one choice, one solution and that was my own! I saw that while choices were good, too many choices were a bit overwhelming!
I had more more time to do the things I enjoyed doing.
This is pretty easy to see that with less information, less time spending on other people’s sites. I would say that I got maybe half an hour — to an hour of my day back from reducing the time that I spent on other people’s sites. That’s about 7 hours a week in total!
I got more mental time.
I saw that sometimes when I looked at other people’s blogs, my mind would be consumed at painting pictures of these people’s lives. While searching other’s blogs, I was always comparing myself to them. For instance — if I were to read a successful blog, my mind would say ‘how did they do that?’ ‘why haven’t you done that?’ ‘Is that what I want to do?’- My head was overloaded with thoughts and questions — which seemed to always distract me from goals. By reducing the crap in my head, I was able to do only one thing. And that was to take action.
So that’s what I learned from my own information detox. I’d say it was highly beneficial to my productivity levels / and my stress levels.
What’s your biggest takeaway from my detox?