Slow News Day

This ties back to my thoughts about Processing Time last year, but I've been thinking about how we internalize information.

Starting a sentence with “In the old days” signifies upcoming fuzzy thinking. “The Old Days” were never like we imagine them; they were a real time full of real people with real lives and issues. Glossing over all of that by consigning it to a generic past tense is a dodge. But it's one I'm going to use for a moment.

In the Old Days people got their national and world news from two sources: a newspaper and TV news in the evening. Local news, of course, traveled from person to person as it always has and will. My point is that the news was time boxed, you could only spend so much time reading the newspaper, and the news programs were generally about half an hour long. So if you took a long time to read the paper you could figure that ingesting news took up maybe two hours of your day, but for most people lets say it was closer to 45 minutes.

That seems a lot more healthy. These days we use current events as a way to hide from what we should be doing in the real world around us. And it's a poisonous sanctuary to say the least. We can only handle so much tragedy, and the world contains enough to drown us all.

So back to processing time. I'm working on a new way of thinking. I'm working on using tools like Instapaper to make a little virtual newspaper. If I see something I “need” to read, I save it to Instapaper, and then once a day I read through that feed. The news stays relegated to its time and space, instead of repeatedly hitting me throughout the day.

I'm not perfect at this yet, and I'm not sure I've got my routine perfect yet, but it's helping me stay happier and more sane. At the very least, I have a plan.

I’m publishing this as part of 100 Days To Offload. You can join in yourself by visiting 100 Days To Offload.

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