We absorb massive amounts of information. Think of how many things we involve ourselves with. We tune into television, newspapers, magazines, social media, entertainment, internet and so on. It’s overwhelming to extract and be influenced by that much information. For any person. Especially when we do it daily. Most of it us useless or has no significant meaning. There is no value in learning the newest drama between “x” and “y” , or watching the news for the latest disaster warning. When was the last time you watched something and thought “Wow that made a difference in my life!” There is nothing to gain from excessive information. Especially when most of it is based on advertising, negativity, drama or just information for the sake of information.
The only way to make a change in your life is to be honest with yourself.
So why expose yourself?
I used to overload myself with massive amounts of media. Each and every day. Until it became a habit. From then on, it was something I did from day to day, keeping up with the latest news, T.V shows and stuff happening.
Do I participate my attention willingly? After sometime these habits of checking in become natural. They become a part of our day. It’s something we just do. This behavior to check this mass media just happens. So our control to stop is almost gone. We have to stop and reevaluate our usage.
How much time do you spend on the internet per day? How much time do you spend reading magazines? How about T.V? The news? Video games? Podcasts? Facebook? Twitter? Movies? Radio? Entertainment? The list continues.
Each and everyday we subscribe our attention, our time and exchange a part of our life for the use of media.
This was why I wanted to scale back my media usage. After tracking my usage I found out that I spent most of my time on T.V. It was well over 4-5 hours per day.. That’s over 30+ hours a week on T.V!
The most effective method I’ve found was to stop adding. Don’t add anymore T.V shows to your list. Make a list of what you watch; and only watch those specific shows. It’s a gradual; yet effective way to limit your T.V intake per day. When the series are over; you can stop watching T.V.
I completed watching 5 out of 7 T.V series I was following. After each series I was watching less T.V. Eventually I was only watching T.V on Wednesdays. With less time spent on T.V I decided to take a complete break. No T.V for 21 days.
Check in with yourself.
Spend one day tracking your usage. See how much of your time is spent on Media. Track it on paper.
It’s incredible how much of our life we give in order to check in with media. It’s truly an overload. The average time spent on media is almost 12 hours per day! That’s 84 hours in 1 week. That is like taking on two full time jobs! And you’re not even getting paid! If anything you’re paying with your time.
Another study points out that at just T.V alone that average person will give 9 years of his life for television!
So take a step back and evaluate your needs. Become aware of what you are doing. Take time to edit your media consumption. Identify your essentials and slowly eliminate the rest. You’ll be happy you did.
How to edit
- Choose one. Focus on one media you wish to scale back.. Edit one at a time. Start with the one you give most of your time towards. For me it was T.V. I would watch my favorite shows then browse for more shows. It was a cycle of non-stop T.V. Before I knew it, the day was gone.
- Limit yourself. Try and limit your media usage. Use less of it and it will use less of you. Use it for what is essential and cut out the need to browse and hang around media; or worse jump to another type of media. Watch your favorite T.V series and that’s it. Don’t linger around afterwards and be sucked into another T.V show/news/advertisements etc. The more you add, the less time you have for yourself.
- Remove afterwards. If you have scaled back your T.V hours or any other media usage, now trying removing it. Removing it completely. Remove it for a day, otherwise challenge yourself with a 21 day break. Even a month if you’re feeling bold. The longer you can go the easier it will get. Choose one type of media and remove it. When you limit your use of media you become less attached to it. This makes it easier to take a complete break. After finishing my 21 day challenge, I went back to T.V. I choose to only my favorite show. It was a completely different feeling. I was taking mental breaks in between the show. I was anticipating the end of the show. I couldn’t focus on the show. It lost it’s touch with me. I felt I had lost interest in T.V. I felt nothing for it. I forced myself to watch the full show. I finished about 3/4’s of the show before turning it off.
- Identify your essentials. If your job requires you to use social media, watch the news or be up to date with entertainment then do so. Use it only for work then log off. If your job doesn’t then cut it out. Find out what you need. Use media for your purpose. Not for browsing around, checking through media due to boredom or lack of better reasons.
- Have a goal. Work towards something you want to accomplish. Set out a goal for the day, the week or a month. Start a project. After you watch your shows or use your media, come back to yourself. Apply that focus back to yourself and work towards your goals. You can always start small. But just make sure you start.
- Boredom. Boredom may strike. We look for things to do because we are bored. We all do it. If you get bored with T.V. don’t switch to another type of media. Don’t log into Facebook, then get bored with Facebook and switch back to T.V. Don’t replace one with another. Don’t waste your time due to boredom. Boredom means free time; so use it! Meditate, go out for a walk, pick up a book. Explore. Create something.
- Re-edit. If you finished your challenge, try another one. One media at a time. See how much time they can free up for you. You might even cut them out completely.
Once you complete your 21-day challenge or your break from media; take some time to evaluate. You might have noticed the extra time you had per day. You might realize that it wasn’t so hard to cut out. It got much easier as you went on. Don’t go directly back to your old media patterns. Think of the changes that taking a break from media brought into your life. See if you can limit your usage or try remove it.
Make media usage work in your benefit.
My motivation to scale back my media consumption was the truth. I was giving up a part of my life to use media.
See if you can change how you spend your time on media. Try instead to use that time and work towards your own personal goals.
Until next time,