I’ve been thinking about over consumption a lot lately. I do think it’s a thing. Not sure if it’s an addiction, but it definitely can grab hold of a person and effect their productivity, attitude, and overall mood.
The problem for me is that I am not a big believer in fads or whatever happens to be the latest thing, so I avoided the Information Diet as much as I could. But it really is helpful, if used properly for your habits.
I see it more as changing habits versus avoiding information outlets. Because the truth is, those outlets; like Hacker News, Twitter, or Reddit have great content and help me learn new things. Expanding my knowledge is a central point of my life and I love learning.
Here is what I have started trying. Notice I said trying. This is harder than it looks.
I schedule as much of my information reading as I can. A 1/2 hour to an hour before I actually start work, then about a 1/2 hour after lunch. This forces me to focus on the important things. I often look around when I’m taking a break from programming and without Twitter and the like I don’t know what to do. This is the difficult part. I try to keep a list of tools, programming practices, topics, etc… I would like to try, and use that spare time to for those.
I also put my phone up when I am at home. I know! Crazy!
I place it on my dresser while I am in the other room. Now I can’t look at those time suck activities and I am forced to actually do something else, like watch a movie with my family, play guitar, or walk outside.
I do slip a lot. I have days where I find myself checking Twitter over and over. Or RSS feeds over and over. But all in all, it’s been a nice change and I’m certainly happier and more productive when I schedule effectively.