Goodbye Internet: 1 Week Media Fast

I work from home, and am pretty productive at it.  But recently (namely, today), the Internet has been driving me a little crazy.  I realized it around 3pm when I was surfing in Google Chrome and had about 20 tabs open in Firefox.  At some point, I opened a new tab, stopped, and actually could not remember why I had gone to the web.  I literally had no idea. Most sites were related to work in some capacity, some sites were purely entertainment, but together it was insanity.

Fortunately, this evening involved a coffee shop, some reflection, and Tim Ferris’ book The Four Hour Workweek.  The title may sound like a scam, but the book is not: it isn’t about doing 4 hours of work and then sitting on your ass for the remaining 164 hours each week.  It’s about being efficient and effective while doing things that excite you.  Many of his recommendations have made me better at my job (and could make you better at yours).

One of Tim’s recommendations resonated with me: “The world doesn’t even hiccup, much less end, when you cut the information umbilical cord.”

Just think: Facebook, Twitter, online comics, news media, blogs, television, and millions upon millions of websites… At 3pm today my head was going to explode.  Too much information!  About the world, about friends, about snow, the Red Sox, baseball, patents, national decisions, Apple, about … anything and everything.

And what does it ultimately contribute to my life?  Nothing.  I have absolutely no recollection of most of what I absorbed today.

So, I’m done.  Done, I say.  (Until at least February 23, and maybe beyond.)  Cold turkey here I come.

Here’s what my media fast looks like (adapted from the book):

  1. No newspapers, magazines, audiobooks, nonmusic radio. Music is permitted at all times.
  2. No news websites whatsoever (cnn.com, drudgereport.com, msn.com etc).
  3. No Twitter, no Facebook, neither while mobile nor at my computer.
  4. No television at all, except for one hour of pleasure viewing each evening.
  5. No reading books, except for The Four Hour Workweek and one hour of fiction pleasure reading prior to bed.
  6. No web surfing while working unless it is necessary to complete a work task for that day.  (“Necessary means necessary, not nice to have.”)
  7. Unnecessary reading is public enemy number one during this one-week fast.

Goodbye most of the Internet.  Ciao.  Au revior.  Let’s see if I miss you.

“Learning to ignore things is one of the great paths to inner peace.”
– Robert J. Sawyer, Calculating God

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