It came to me, after yet another miscommunication between people had occurred via a typical social media outlet that whilst it has its merits, there is in fact a down side to some of these tools we now use on a daily basis.
The question came to me – whilst we live in the Information Age which is fantastic, is there such a thing as TOO much information?
Take myself for example.
Right now, I am running two businesses – this one and the blog that goes with it, as well as a nappy service in Sydney. I am also studying full time to obtain my degree in Naturopathy and I have an 18month old toddler.
That sounds like a lot of work, and some days it is. Some of the time I manage well, some of the time I don’t manage so well. I make sure I have my herbs every day and that helps to keep me focused and grounded. There are bad days though and those are the days when I’ve spent way too long on Facebook filling my brain with useful but often unable-to-be-recalled-because-there’s-so-much-already-crammed-in-there information.
Recently, I started considering my daily allotment of time and how best to use it. I began looking around for ways to cut back, to simplify and downsize my life. What better place to start than by cultivating a “Low Information Diet?”
· Stopped watching news programs and listening to news on the radio
· Stopped listening to the radio or music in the car and just let my head work through everything and file it all away properly without added noise
· Turning off the TV of an evening (my husband likes to turn it on when he gets home – erk!) and keeping it off during the day
· Not turning on the TV for my daughter – no matter how much she pleads me to. I play with her instead – its more fun for both of us!
· If I must listen to some music I ensure its light and happy like some Ella Fitzgerald or Michael Buble`.
· Limiting Facebook time to a maximum of 1 hour per day; focused on sharing relevant information and tidbits for my readers
· Restricting my Facebook news feeds to business related items that are relevant for my readers
· I emailed my regular contacts advising I wouldn’t be participating on Facebook on a personal level as much and to email me if they wanted to let me know something important
· I unsubscribed from ANY marketing type email or newsletter; this included ScoopOn, GroupOn, Deals Direct, Daily Deals, Mumgo and the like. This already has freed up my inbox SO much! I have saved money and stopped feeling guilty for not buying all the time. It’s been a huge weight off me to get rid of all those newsletters and “daily deal” emails.
· I limit the time spent to check emails to a maximum of one hour and I only check them twice per day; once in the morning and once in the afternoon. I respond to what can be handled in under an hour and then send a polite short response for more detailed work to be done the next day. This stops me from feeling overwhelmed by my inboxes.
· I turn my mobile off from 4pm and focus the entire afternoon on my daughter and on preparing dinner for my family. I feel so much better for it – I am not constantly on edge waiting for the phone to ring or buzz.
Already I feel a lightening of weight around my shoulders, my brain feels less overwhelmed and befuddled and I am waking with less and less ominous feelings of ‘crap – what do I need to do today again?’ I feel clearer and more able to focus on what I am doing. I feel more productive and efficient, both in work and study but also on the home front.
These simple changes which are the beginnings of helping me to cultivate a ‘low information diet’ have meant I have spent an entire weekend baking and re-arranging my home to be less cluttered and more efficient without missing out on anything.
My phone was off for the entire weekend and I felt good about it. Nobody had horrible fates befall them without me, nobody stopped talking to me because I wasn’t there for them, Facebook was still there Monday morning and my email account still beeped away leaving work for me to do when I signed in at the beginning of the work week. Nothing had changed in the world except me – I felt lighter, life felt more simple and somehow less daunting. It was a nice change, I liked it.
I encourage you to look at doing something similar, just for the benefits to your peace of mind. Why not start by streamlining your email inbox? Or if you are feeling brave, limiting Facebook usage to certain periods each day? Or if you’re a true Renegade, consider turning off your phone at 5pm to be entirely present to your family for an afternoon.
I have done it and loving the changes I am feeling. I am certain that by doing so and using the time saved for activities I enjoy like baking, crochet and gardening that my oxytocin levels are rising. This, for any woman is a GREAT thing – oxytocin is the relaxing hormones for us ladies.
Have you tried something like this before – simplifying life? How did it work for you? Tell me about it below!
Love and clear-headedness,
The Eco Mum xo