It’s time to quit your addiction to the news!

It's time for you to quit your addiction to the news!

Now is as good a time as ever to go on a full news diet

Don’t deny it.

You are addicted to the news.

Maybe it is the financial news? Or perhaps you are into politics? No, that’s not right…maybe it’s sports or entertainment?

Well, it really doesn’t matter…

No matter the niche, your steady news diet is killing your productivity and mental state.

It’s time to quit your addiction to the news!

Like the buffet, it probably won’t make you happier to keep loading your plate up simply because you can.

– Seth Godin, The hedonic buffet

Now, don’t go getting all offended. I too, am a former news addict.

When I was working as a CEO, I wanted to keep up on everything that I could that was relevant to not only my business, but the world.

So you can bet that I was subscribed to probably 50-60 email newsletters that delivered me the news daily:

  • The New York Times
  • Axios
  • Inside.com
  • NPR
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • Washington Post
  • Sports Illustrated
  • Bleacher Report
  • and hell even … CNN

Not only was I oversubscribed, but I was overstimulated.

I would also randomly scroll news apps to let more of the news find me.

It wasn’t until my early retirement and stress from the pandemic, when I realized that I needed to ruthlessly cut down my obsession with email – and the news!

The daily news cycle is nothing but noise and nonsense

But it’s all just so much foam, fluff and noise. It doesn’t matter to us. We’re in it for the beer!

The Simple Path to Wealth by JL Collins

Though the above quote is referring to the financial news, I find it to be quite relevant to any type of news.

We aren’t living life for the foam and fluff. We are in it for the beer!

Consider…

  • Volatility is expected in the financial markets. There is always a lot of noise. When things are good, we wonder “when will things start going bad?” – when things are bad, we wonder “when will the pain end?” – and on and on. Yet, if you do nothing and play dead, you beat the market. Financial news doesn’t matter.
  • There is so much drama around sports. Will Tom Brady retire? Who will win the Super Bowl? Maybe the Rams have a huge advantage because they are playing a Super Bowl at home? Or wait…there is only one way to find out. Watch the game! Sports news doesn’t matter.
  • Politics are a whole other level. These days you can get swept up in them for days. But when push comes to shove the only things you can truly control is your own vote. You can volunteer, you can donate to campaigns, you can take action, but watching the news doesn’t help you. Political news doesn’t matter.

In all of these situations, if you don’t control the outcome, then it is nothing more than noise and nonsense.

Rarely do we stop to ask ourselves questions about the media we consume: Is this good for me? Is this dense with detailed information? Is this important? Is this going to stand the test of time? Is the person writing someone who is well informed on the issue? Asking those questions makes it clear the news isn’t good for you.”

Farnam StreetWhy You Should Stop Reading News

The best thing you can do is focus on the things in which you do control the outcome.

The news, as intriguing as it can be, is not in our sphere of control, and clearly is not good for any of us.

Consider a full news detox

You don’t have to add anything in order to be happy; you’ve got to drop something. Life is easy, life is delightful. It’s only used in your illusions, your ambitions, your greed, your cravings.

Awareness by Anthony De Mello

If you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed, it is probably time to go cold turkey.

When I decided to do a news detox, the benefits where near instantaneous. The stress melted away.

Sure it takes awhile to break a habit, and I’ve even recently had some relapses and had to stoop to locking my phone in a safe for 24 hours!

But you have to choose your own happiness. And to do that, you need to make some conscious decisions to do things differently.

How to declutter your mind: unsubscribe from the news

Similar to my plan with email, here is what I recommend for news.

Email Subscriptions:

  1. Pick just one trusted news source and UNSUBSCRIBE from the rest
  2. Any news sources that tend to update daily or multiple times a day, UNSUBSCRIBE
  3. ONLY KEEP anything that brings you joy or is a real hobby
  4. TURN OFF any/all social emails (because these can lead to news too via side-doors)

Phone News Apps:

  1. TURN OFF any/all push notifications on your iPhone or Android device
    • My only exceptions to this are for text messages, one trusted news source (sports for me) and anything financial or banking related apps
  2. DELETE your news apps. Um bye.
  3. MOVE social media into a folder and away from your home screen
  4. ANYTHING that comes in that you don’t want a push for, turn it off as you receive

Other general advice:

Say no to 24 hour TV news channels. Their job is to suck you in and keep you watching. Yes, that is their job. To create DRAMA.

All news is dramatized, but 24 hour TV News Channels take this to the next level.

Remember that, if you can’t control something directly, you are just feeding into the foam and fluff and nonsense.

Focus on what you can control: your attitude, what you bring to your family and friends, your job, etc.

You’ll find that your addiction to the news will melt away like butter and you’ll experience far more joy in your life.

What if I miss something important?

Here is the thing. You won’t!

Anything that is really big news will find you. I promise. You’ll hear about it from family and friends. You’ll hear about it from your co-workers.

I promise you, you’ll hear!

I don’t subscribe to any financial news. And yet, I still heard that the stock market was down 10% in January.

Also, my plan above doesn’t completely remove you from knowing what is going on in the world. Remember, you picked your favorite news source and you are sticking with that?

You’ll still get a small slice of news daily. I still subscribe to The New York Times Morning Brief.

Sometimes I read it, most of the time I don’t.

And we still play the evening news on our TV every night. I want our kids to be exposed to and take an interest in other people and world events. We talk about the news, but we don’t let the news ruin our moods or mental health.

In other words, we’ve found our balance. I know you can too!

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4 comments

  1. Guilty as charged. I’ve been addicted to the dopamine hits of twitter news, which is why I generally try and steer clear of social media. And now the Instagrams and Facebooks and everything else has enhanced their algorithms to TikTok you into a comatose state for hours on end. It’s a trap!

    1. Haha yeah. I definitely am guilty of overdoing Twitter at times. I am definitely in it for the dopamine hits, BUT there is real value with connecting with other like minded individuals. The news on the other hand, has no real redeeming long-term value. So that is where I am drawing the line at this current moment!

  2. Good article!

    Gets back to one of the fundementals I try to live by which is the Circle of Control & Influence vs the larger circle of interest.

    The news covers (including market news) largely deals in topics I have very little control of the outcome. There is no real utility in the information other than it grabs my attention and consumes my time to tickle the interest itch, but doesn’t move the needle in a meaningful way to improving my life.

    Great post keep up the good work!

    Cheers
    Adam the friendly Sasquatch
    BlindLuckProject.com

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