I removed another 4-letter word from my vocabulary


A few months back you may recall I removed a certain 4-letter word from my vocabulary. It's not what you're thinking. That word was 'busy'. After hearing myself and others overuse this term to death, I replaced 'I'm too busy', 'I'm so crazy busy', 'life is just too busy' with what I was actually doing, or not giving any excuses at all.

Busy is a choice.

This turned into 'I forgot to call you back', 'I can get together next weekend', 'I was running errands'. Read the original post here - I am removing a 4-letter word from my vocabulary.

This post is along the lines of freeing up time. I first read about this idea in the 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. Who offers up dozens of 'why didn't I think of that?' palm to forehead moments.

The four-letter word here is, "news".

In the spirit of minimalism, to be bombarded with constant news from the world and from friends all day can be overwhelming and extremely unproductive. I used to subscribe to dozens of newsletters and blogs, delivered straight to my inbox. These messages were jamming up my email, and my brain.

The fix - go on a news diet.

I decided about a year ago to go on a news diet. I was not going to try out this diet for a week. This was a lifestyle change. As news feeds started landing in my inbox I asked myself if that tidbit of news changed my day, or my life in any way, and most importantly - was it a positive feeling? Did I act any differently? Did I really need to know this?

Usually, I didn't.

Hit that magical unsubscribe button. Done! I also used to watch both the morning and the evening news to 'stay in know' of world happenings. There were stories of mayhem and murder in far off places, what some Kardashawholigan wore to the grocery store yesterday who left the house without makeup. The horror. I generally avoid tabloids, in Lisa Bloom's words '

I generally avoid tabloids, in Lisa Bloom's words 'garbage in, garbage out', but even so-called credible or 'serious'' news sources report copious amounts of fluff.

If  the news is that important, I'll hear about it.

Doing this frees up a ton of time and energy. Direct my thoughts elsewhere. Earthquake in Japan? Terrible, but do I need to know this as it happens? We're obsessed with information, having this burning need to know the latest information first to impress our friends. I'm more content and focused on the present moment not knowing what things are going on in the world.

If I want news, I'll seek it out on my own terms instead of letting it constantly bash me over the head.

If you've never tried a news diet, try it for just a week. If any week to start it, this is the week. How many ways do you need to hear Friday's terrible news reported? How many inaccuracies do you want to hear? How many spins and opinions do you want to hear?

Do you think any news reported this week will change your life?

Start today, right after reading this. Part of my job requires I'm on top of certain news, if this is the case, keep it at that. Outside of your job, turn off the news channels, take a break from CNN and MSNBC. If you need to know what is happening in the world ask someone if there is anything exciting happening in the world today.

Notice you're talking to people more? See how you feel. Did you miss anything? Did you regret not knowing something three seconds after it happened? Did it have a negative impact on your life? Once your week of no news is wrapped up, try minimizing the noise in your inbox and only let in information that you really need to know.

4 ways to get less 'news' in your life + feel freaking awesome about it: 

  1. Unsubscribe to newsletters or blogs you no longer read, even if that means this one - I won't hold it against you. Use unroll.me to roll all your newsletters up into a tidy little daily email.
  2. To save your inbox from tons of news, sales pitches and ads, set up a separate email address just for this purpose. Have news automatically forwarded to another email address or folder so you're not distracted by these messages as they roll in.
  3. Cancel magazine subscriptions you no longer read. If they pile up on your ottoman and it feels like a chore to read them, eliminate them.
  4. Talk to human beings, face-to-face and on the phone. You'll get all the news you need.


PS - I'm removing a four-letter word from my vocabulary and How to fix a no good, rotten, bad day when everything totally sucks