What is Your Media Diet?

Disclaimer. First. I am not a perfect writer but thought this would be a start. Second. I am not a perfect advocate of what I talk about below. But I believe that it is very important to our future growth as individuals and will set the dreamers from those who become what they dream.

How many times has this happened to yourself? You sit down for a minute to take a break, get on social media or see the news, and then WHAM 40 minutes has already passed. You still have so many things that you have to still do and accomplish! You feel almost the same feeling after having just eaten a bag of potato chips or junk food. This has happened to me many times.

What is your Media Diet? Yes, I am talking news, social media, music, TV, Netflix etc.

I did a media consumption audit the other day and looked into everything that I watched, read, or listened to each day. I was surprised to find things and notice extra time that I was wasting that I can use more productively. I found at least 30 minutes each day spent on “junk food” media that had no relevance to my future goals and who I want to become.

I challenge you to do a consumption audit and see how much time do you spend on unnecessary “junk food” media.

Consider your news feed on Facebook for a minute. What are the things that you see? Often there are photos and occasional status updates from friends. But the majority of things that are on Facebook are stories about some funny video, a controversial statement, an exotic place to travel or some new drama in the world about politics or a celebrity. There are thousands of variations but have similar applications. Recently I started reading a book called “Trust Me I’m Lying” by Ryan Holiday and it’s fascinating. He talks about media manipulation and how bloggers and writers are paid by the click and they understand the importance of creating a headline that will suck you in. Media is a powerful influence that impacts what we think, feel and do.

It is important to understand the concept of GIGO (garbage in, garbage out). I am an accounting student and in the accounting world GIGO is taught that when creating future forecasts for a company if bad numbers and estimates are used in the projection, then that is what you will get out. The same applies to our brains. If we put junk food (garbage) in our minds, then that will be our output. Garbage.

Now let me be clear: Social media isn’t inherently bad. There are a lot of good, wonderful things that happen through social media and other outlets. Elder Russell M Ballard recently wrote: “You may consider asking yourself, honestly, how much time do you spend every day on your cell phone or tablet, not including school or Church work?

Their use is appropriate, and they are a blessing. However, when smartphones begin to interfere with our relationships with friends and family — and even more importantly, with God — we need to make a change. For some of you, the adjustment will be slight; for others, it may be significant.

I am also concerned that excessive text messaging, Facebooking, tweeting, and Instagramming are replacing talking — talking directly one to another and talking in prayer with our Heavenly Father and thinking about the things that matter most in life.

What I have learned most in my life came from listening to those with great experience, those who had lived longer and learned many important things that I needed to know. Please take advantage to visit and talk with your family.”

A question I try to ask myself regularly is: Are the habits I have today on par with the dreams I have for tomorrow?

Where to start? How to improve?

Here are a few things I have tried to apply in my life to improve in this aspect.

Change media. Audible is a wonderful app that connects you to a large library of audiobooks that you can listen to while working out, in the car or on the go. Since May I have listen to 3 days and 7 hours’ worth of audio. That has just been in the car and during other times when I have been doing something else! It has been a wonderful tool to continue to learn and grow.

Overdrive. Connects you to your local or university library and you can check out e books and audiobooks.

Mormon Channel. Countless talks, messages and programs are on this app. There is a 24/7 radio show that has wonderful inspiring audio programs.

Delete Apps: If necessary delete Facebook, Instagram or other social media apps off your phone. Set goals for yourself to only get on those sites a certain amount per day. Hold yourself accountable and celebrate your successes. You will feel a rewarding sense of achievement.

StayFocused. StayFocused is an app extension for chrome. It’s fantastic. You can search for it on the apps store in google chrome and install it and it prevents you from spending too much time on the websites you decide. You can set the time limits and it will block the site after the time limit has reached.

Plan. We have all heard the quote “fail to plan, plan to fail”. If we fail to plan our days we will not see the opportunity of time each day to do great things. Remember, small actions and habits each day over time bring astounding results for better or worse. A plane taking off from San Francisco headed to Washington D.C. with a one-degree error would end up in Baltimore. 43 miles away from its destination! Businesses nor marriages fail overnight. We must be deliberate about planning our lives and setting goals. As we do that we will be more aware of how we use our time.

I am striving to make some of these changes in my life to consistently improve. I hope you will do the same. I hope that you will each accomplish your own goals and dreams. Make it Happen!