As someone who loves to learn about anything and everything, I try to absorb all of the information I can from the content I consume. But these days, anyone can share their opinion and insight on a topic – especially with blogs and social media – and I’ve noticed that so much of it simply isn’t quality content.
Have you ever been reading a blog post and thought, ‘This is such basic information, I could have written this?’
Of course, there are so many incredible resources out there with genuinely interesting and/or useful content, but I’ve realized that it’s important to be really selective about what you consume in this digital age.
In case you forgot, you don’t actually have to read every blog post you come across.
You aren’t obligated to follow someone just because they seem to be popular within your industry. You don’t have to read that book that doesn’t seem interesting even though your friend recommended it. This feeling that we need to consume everything we come across strongly corresponds with FOMO, or the fear of missing out.
We’re afraid that we might miss out on learning some potentially life-changing information.
This happens to me frequently, especially with anything related to blog advice. I have hundreds of these types of posts saved in my bookmarks bar to read later because I feel like I need to read them all. Why? Does it mean I’m a bad blogger if I don’t read every single blogging advice article? I surely hope not.
One of my absolute favorite blog posts by the lovely Rachel included a quote that has stuck with me ever since I read it: “Less Consumption, More Creation.“
In order to focus on your own ideas and allow your brain to rest from all of the information being thrown at it, it’s important to take a break and just stop consuming for a moment.
The 7-Day Media Detox Challenge
To help you with the process of consuming less, I’ve put together a 7-Day Media Detox with actionable steps and a free printable. If you want to reduce the amount of ‘stuff’ you consume without having to go completely cold turkey, I think you’re going to enjoy this!
You’ll increase the amount of time you have to spend doing things you truly want to accomplish, rather than getting distracted by other people’s ideas. There are a few steps to follow before we get into the detox:
STEP 1 – Where do you get info?
Identify the platforms where you usually get information from and write them down. Here are some examples:
- Social media
- News sites
STEP 2 – Get rid of the noise
In each category where you get information, start unsubscribing, unfollowing, and unbookmarking. You only want to be left with your absolute favorites.
- If you’re not sure which email lists you’re subscribed to, check out Unroll.me. You’ll probably be shocked by how many newsletters you’re actually signed up for.
- If you follow a ton of people on Twitter and don’t want to unfollow them, create a private list of your favorite people and refer to that instead of always scrolling through your main feed. Hide updates from annoying people you don’t want to unfriend on Facebook.
- Turn off social media and news notifications on your phone.
STEP 3 – Create a System
Here’s the most important thing to remember: you do not have to read or watch everything you come across. You will not be missing out. Be selective about what you consume and ask yourself, Is this going to help me?
Instead of reacting right away as soon as you see something click-worthy….just pause. Sort it away for later and focus on what you should be doing instead of getting distracted. Here’s what you can do to avoid clicking right away:
Blog posts/articles. Use Pocket to save articles and read them later. You can also get the app for your phone so if you see something worth reading, you can easily save it to the app. Alternatively, you can email the link to yourself and read it later.
Pinterest. If you see something you want to check out, like it instead of clicking or pinning right away.
Instagram. If something catches your eye, take a screenshot and email it to yourself.
Youtube. Use the Watch Later feature.
News. If you’re someone who still reads the news (let’s face it, most of us don’t), try asking your friends, family or co-worker for a summary of what’s going on in the world right now. Or try theskimm which emails you a daily summary of the latest news.
Email. If you’re subscribed to newsletters that are genuinely useful, create a folder in your inbox called ‘Read Later’ and store them to read for another time.
Books. If you have a massive list of books you want to read, try using Goodreads to keep track of them. I’m one of those people who’s always reading a million books at once, but to fully get the most out of them, it’s best to read one at a time.
Instead of trying to eliminate media all together, the media detox is about lessening your consumption day-by-day. Print out the challenge and cross off each day as you complete it!
The idea is to keep following the previous day’s instructions, but keep removing stuff. For example: On Day 4, you would avoid checking media until after lunch AND avoid media after dinner.
Unsubscribe and unfollow using Step 2 above.
Avoid checking your phone or going on your computer first thing in the morning. Wait until 9 am before going on social media, reading news or blogs, or listening to podcasts.
Wait until after lunch to check any forms of media. Eat your lunch without doing anything else at the same time (this is something I really struggle with!)
No media/email after dinner. Netflix is okay, but try reading a fictional book or going for a walk instead!
Limit yourself to reading/watching/listening to only 3 links all day. So you could read 2 blog posts and watch 1 YouTube video. Challenge yourself to be selective!
Go all day with only one tab open on your computer at a time. It’s tricky, but possible! I actually did this for one of my monthly goals in June.
Go media-free all day. Work on that project you’ve been wanting to do for a while. Using your computer is totally fine, but avoid browsing other sites for ‘inspiration’.
I hope you find this challenge really helpful and get to spend some quality time doing what makes you happy!