5 Simple Ways to Reduce Political Consumption and Improve Your Life
Election season is here, and with it comes the runaway firehose that is the political news cycle, divisive journalism and bad takes from people all over the internet.
People all across the United States of America are finding out that as they increase consumption of political news, they can actively see their quality of life declining. The more we read, watch and hear, the more frustrated we get. Here’s a secret: while an aim of government policy should be to increase the quality of life for all Americans, quality of life is most certainly not a consideration in the cesspool that is the political news cycle.
Lucky for us, realizing one simple truth and acting on it will help you claim back hours of your day and feel better about humanity. That simple truth: No matter how much politics you choose to consume between now and Election Day, it will have no impact on the outcome of the election.
If you aren’t actively involved in politics in some way, you aren’t making a difference. Plain and simple. Boom. You are now free to drastically lessen your political consumption with no downside.
Below I list 5 simple ways to reduce political consumption (it’s not easy!) and improve the quality of your life:
- Facebook News Feed Eradicator
I think we can all agree Facebook News Feed is the worst offender of political news malpractice. Kill your Facebook news feed with this handy Chrome extension and replace it with inspiring quotes.
I like to approach Facebook surgically, going in and checking in on what I want to see and who I want to hear from. Facebook News feed Eradicator allows me to do this, without being subjected to the unconfigureable Facebook news feed which is continually slammed full of dumb memes, reposts of unread articles and opinions that don’t make a whole lot of sense.
On my phone, I like to have only the FB Messenger application installed, so I can use the part of Facebook I value, keeping connections with friends and family. If you must keep the Facebook application installed, definitely turn off notifications.
2. Tweetdeck Filters
Okay, when I said Facebook was the worst, I may have been lying. At the very least, Twitter runs a close second. The obvious first step is to unfollow political candidates and pundits.
To take things a step farther we can use Tweetdeck, a fantastic twitter client, with filtering capabilities. You can see how, with just a couple of words muted, we can filter out 80% of the noise. Under preferences, it’s this easy:
Funny story: I muted the word “Trump” back in December, and then forgot about it. Fast forward several months, and I just assumed he had dropped out of the race since I wasn’t hearing anything about him anymore. Wasn’t I in for a surprise!
3. TV Parental Controls are Your Secret Weapon
Nearly every cable box these days comes with parental controls. Use them to block Fox News, CNN, MSNBC and any other cyclical news station you find yourself habitually returning to.
4. Hosts File, Now We’re Hacking
Through the editing of text file on your computer, you can easily block entire web domains from your computer, saving countless hours and heartaches.
5. Find a hobby!
Let’s face it, for most of us political consumption isn’t something we set out to do, but something we just can’t stay away from. As tough as it can be sometimes, we must be vigilant if we do not want our quality of life dragged into the political gutter. I suggest the following:
Whatever you do, don’t click that headline. I know it’s hard, but once you begin resisting, you’ll find the reward to be vastly superior to anything you may be missing out on by not following the self-serving news cycle. You’ll probably even find that come November, you didn’t miss a thing, and you feel better for it.
Bonus Tip from the Editor: Turn off the talk radio!
Lies!!! Talk radio is objectively more negative and generally more desperate for your attention than the theoretical demon spawn of Facebook and Twitter.
But wait! There are great alternatives.
Podcasts are another great talk radio replacement. I recommend This American Life, TED Radio Hour, Freakonomics and The Tim Ferris Show. Listen to what you want to listen to, when you want to listen to it, not what’s on the dial. Want books? Check out Audible.
If you still feel you absolutely must keep up to date with what’s going on in the world, I recommend getting a small daily dose from a favorite source. I like the FiveThirtyEight podcasts and the Rachel Maddow podcast.