Wednesdays are simplicity days at SimpleProductivity blog.
In the past few weeks, we have talked about putting media consumption on a diet to limit information overload. This week, the last week of the series, I am mopping up with the other types of media in our lives.
It’s hard to believe that 100 years ago, there was no such thing as television or radio, much less streaming media, recording or podcasts. Each one of these media can be good or bad, depending on what you are getting from it.
Slimming other media is the last step in getting your information overload under control.
According to the University of California, the average American home has a television on for 6 hours, 47 minutes per day. (source) So even if it is not being actively watched (how’s that for an oxymoron?), the information is still coming forth and into the home.
The question is, how much value do you get from your television viewing?
A friend of mine stopped watching the news in the morning when he realized every time he did, he would develop road rage on the way to work.
I don’t mind watching an occasional show for entertainment, but I find myself susceptible to the commercials. It was even worse with my daughter, with the commercials aimed at the kids causing her to beg for all sorts of things: toys, sugar-laden “food” and candy.
Our television is not on at all during the week. My daughter is limited in how much she can watch. And we cut cable completely.
It just wasn’t worth the noise and stress it brought into our lives.
In my younger days, I lived in an area with a wide variety of radio stations. Now I live in an area with essentially the same commercial radio stations, only differing in whether they play country music or not. Sometimes you can tell which station you are listening to based on the volume level of the presenters.
I gain nothing from listening to radio, especially during commutes…other than a desire to keep searching the stations for something original.
Yet I missed hearing new music. (Not that I found it on commercial radio) I have stopped listening to commercial radio completely. To learn about new music, I go to sites like Baeble, which features new and upcoming artists.
I do not have a recording device in my house. Mainly because one of my friends routinely has 50-60 hours of recorded shows to watch at any time.
If I were in this position, I would feel the weight of those unwatched shows hanging over my head. I can’t imagine knowing that I had more television waiting for me than twice my work week!
Having a backlog of shows creates an artificial need to watch them. How much value do you get from them? Probably little.
An experiment to try: don’t record anything for a week, and see how much you actually bother to seek out online.
Podcasts were a sore spot for me. I have a long commute, and I use the podcasts to inform me as I drive. Some of them are pure entertainment. Some are educational. And some are there because someone said I had to listen to this podcast or I would fail at (insert blogging, writing, marketing, programming here).
The truth is, I fell for the marketing on this last category of podcasts. They made me feel like I was missing something, and the podcast would fill it. What I found, universally, with these particular podcasts is that they did not deliver on the promises made. It took me a while to get past the whole “you’ll fail if you don’t listen” mentality, but I finally cleared these off my lists.
After slimming down print media, newsletters, online information and other media, I no longer feel like I am drinking from a fire hose. Part of me, though, wants to know if there is more I could have done. Please share your ideas below.
Photo by oatsy40. Licensed under Creative Commons.