In my book, I discuss the need to “divorce your technology” to eliminate distractions in your life. One woman wrote in telling her story of divorcing her technology.
I hadn’t even finished the introduction of your new book before benefitting from it. The preview of the nine steps begins with “… a lot of what you call work has very little to do with getting anything important done in life. Like when I compulsively check my social media sites every hour. That kind of thing must go.”
I’ve noticed how much time I waste reading blogs with Google Reader. I’d planned to use some upcoming travel as a natural disruption for that habit. I don’t want to waste my travel time staying caught up on blogs.
I’ve already tried organizing them into folders like “Sometimes” and “Rarely”. It didn’t work. It bugs me when I see the number of unread posts build up, and I waste time marking things read. They had to go.
“But, but, but –“, I thought, ” I really LIKE some of them. I might want to read them again, and I’ll never find them if I unsubscribe.” I made a parking lot file and started copying and pasting links. This was a full-on illustration of why they must go. After an hour and a half had elapsed, I’d wandered through many interesting posts on language, holistic learning, travel tips, how to write a thesis, learning styles, and found three new interesting blogs. Total unsubscribes: 25.
Then I found the Manage Subscriptions link. How appalling — I discovered I was still subscribed to 135 blogs. That’s almost Intervention levels. No wonder there was always something fresh to read when I visit the Google Reader site.
I booted all the blogs I new were no longer interesting or active. Then I exported the list as my snapshot of Someday I May Need This.
After the first cut I got it down to 74. Still appalling, but a sort of progress.
The remaining blogs fall into four categories:
1) Stuff I’m Supposed To Read But Don’t Actually Like. This includes tech industry news, and cool kid blogs like Io 9. After sleeping on it for a night, I’m ok letting them go. After all, I have a parking lot list.
2) Reading About An Exciting Life Instead Of Having One. When I pick up a hobby I subscribe to blogs. Sometimes I spend more time reading about things than doing them. Sometimes these blogs intimidate me so much it’s safer to read than to do.
3) Legitimate but Indiscriminate. Can I tell you how many travel blogs I subscribed to? Once I see a few more posts, a couple will wind up being keepers. This time I’ll ditch the rest.
4) The Good Stuff. These are the few, the proud where I read every post. For some, I know the author and want to keep up on their life. A couple are genuine industry experts. ( Thankfully, none are prodigious posters.) There are a couple newspaper feeds that I skim and liberally mark all read.
After all that I’m down to “only” 44. That’s still dangerous. I’ve set up Leechblock to give me a maximum of 20 minutes per day. Between that and spotty Internet access, I think I’ll break the habit.
I had already realized “I should spend less time reading blogs”. Your book connected the dots for me, to become “… because it’s in lieu of anything important to me, and not in support of it.” Thank you for a timely insight. I look forward to reading the rest of the book.