“Learning isn’t acquiring knowledge so much as it is trimming information that has already been acquired.”
― Criss Jami
It’s astounding just how much information we have access to at any given moment.
Unfortunately, with this convenience, information addiction is a growing dilemma.
Learning new information can be stimulating and our brains get used to it over time.
But how much is all of that information really adding to your life? How much is it costing you?
To help you determine the answer to those questions, try answering these:
• Could you spend an entire day disconnected from your phone, the internet, and the TV without feeling anxiety?
• Do you feel comfortable without your phone for even an hour?
• Are you online first thing in the morning and last thing at night?
If you answered “yes” to these questions, it might be time to learn how to unplug.
Here are 7 Ways to get yourself unplugged:
1. Figure out where you seek the most information. What’s your biggest addiction? Is there a particular time of day you’re most likely to have an issue?
• Write down when you feel compelled to seek information.
• Note the object of your compulsion. Twitter? Facebook? TV news? Internet?
2. Learn how to pause. Addictions are automatic responses. We act without even thinking.
• If you can introduce a pause between the urge and the action, you give yourself a chance to stop. So the next time you feel compelled to check your email for the fifth time, stop and ask yourself why.
3. If you can’t stop yourself, at least give yourself a break. If you find yourself stuck on a website, take a break every hour or so.
• Go do something else like call a friend, eat an apple, or have a glass of water.
• If you do something more active, such as take a walk, do 10 pushups, or clean your house, it will really distract your mind.
• You might find that you can continue doing something else if you can just get away for a 10 minute break.
Change Your Habits
Now that you have the basics down, you can begin to change your habits. This may take a month or two, but you can finally be free.
4. Start with the most common trigger point. What situations compel you to get off-track? Perhaps it’s avoiding work that you really don’t want to do. Or maybe it’s whenever you eat. For many people, it’s boredom or stress.
• Figure out which is the most common trigger point for you.
5. Find a replacement action. Consider what you would rather do in that situation. It should be positive, fun, and not require more than 5 minutes. Just think of something you really enjoy that can replace the addictive behavior.
• Some ideas include: reading a few pages in a great book, taking a short walk, listening to one song on the radio, writing, or doing a few sit-ups.
6. Do your replacement action every time your trigger point occurs. Old habits can be broken by forming a new habit to replace them. It can be challenging, but you must do this new action every single time your trigger occurs.
• Keep at it. It’s vital to forming a new habit.
• Inconsistency won’t get rid of the old habit, so try not to give up.
• A little slip here and there isn’t a big deal as long as you keep trying.
7. Use this process for each trigger point. The final step is to work through all of your trigger points. Work through your list and you’ll be free of your information addiction before you know it.
Breaking your information addiction doesn’t mean that you can never check your email or watch the news.
Ideally, the activities associated with your information addiction work best when they’re planned and limited.
Give yourself some time each day to keep up on the latest and greatest. It only becomes an issue when it starts to interfere with your time on other activities.
Strive for a balanced life and you’ll find that you enjoy it so much more.