I've been appreciating the calmness of a Low-Information Diet. It seemed like the next logical place to practice minimalism.
News and Media Outlets
I (like many others) grew up in a house where the news was always on. My mother and stepfather would leave the TV on even if they weren't watching it. My grandparents would tune in every night, and when I was visiting them, I would sit on the floor by their feet as the BBC broadcasters shared the tragedies of the world. It certainly painted a bleak picture.
The reality is that boring doesn't encourage viewers. Boring doesn't sell. Most of the news is polarizing, because that's the kind of thing that draws viewers in. So much of what is shared today is simply click-bait, meant to drive traffic and create revenue. I've turned it off and stopped engaging.
Facebook and Social Media
I've unfollowed everyone and click "Hide this ad" any time something comes up. It's glorious. When I think about someone and want to see what they're up to, I send them a text message or meander over to their feed or wall and end up leaving a thoughtful comment. It's not just a random "Like" on the photo of their delicious lunch that popped up in my feed. This reaching out has actually inspired more connection, which I've sincerely enjoyed.
I follow the Inbox Zero method, which allows me to stay on top of all my emails and keep myself organized. My goal is to only touch an email once: I delete if not relevant or needed, file the email away in organized folders after reading if no action is required, immediately reply where I can or forward to the correct person, and check in multiple times per day to keep on top of my communication. This is the method that works for me. Before I log off for the day, I aim to have my inbox completely cleared out.
"That could have been an email" is a trending meme for a reason. The more time spent in meetings, the less time we spend productively getting things done. I only accept meetings that have a clear agenda and goal and to which I will be able to add or take value. When the allotted time for the meeting ends, I leave promptly. Through this consistent behavior, people have learned that I have a low tolerance for inefficient meetings and that I expect them to start on time. My peers' respect for my time has increased specifically because I am valuing it. Short, focused, to the point.
Ignorance Isn't Bliss
I'm not suggesting we should know nothing. Rather, if you can find a highlight reel or a filter, use it. My partner reads the New York Times daily, and he gives me the important highlights. Some of my friends are interested in politics and education, so I get all the updates from them regularly. I enjoy periodicals focused on finance, views of market analysts I work with, and other things that add enjoyment to my life.
It's all about spending less time on the things that don't matter and focusing on what does.