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Too Much Information in a Day

Several years ago, I was reading an interview with John Mayer in Rolling Stone that touched on his fascination with porn. He mentioned in the interview, “Before I make coffee, I’ve seen more butt holes than a proctologist does in a week.”

Crude, yes, but it got me thinking. Maybe, I don’t have the same surfing habits as John Mayer, but I consume just as much useless information in the morning that he does. Reading my RSS feed, making my rounds online, checking my email, texts, etc., my poor brain makes probably a hundred decisions before I walk through the doors at work on what data is useful and what is not, and like John Mayer, none of it is necessary. It’s habitual and I got to imagine it’s not healthy.

I spend a lot of time reflecting on the time I knew before the internet and/or when the internet was more of a tool rather than an entertainment device. In those days, when I woke up in the morning, I didn’t immediately turn on the TV or radio. I didn’t reach for a book. I just slowly woke up. I got ready in silence and thought about the day to to come or the night before. If I was feeling creative, I’d start outlining a story in my head and I’d consider writing it down once I had a few minutes.

Eventually I might make my way to watching a movie or checking my email, but there were buffers between these things. To watch a movie, I had to either take a chance with what was playing on TV or choose from my collection. If I wanted to check my email, I had to walk over to my computer, turn it on, wait for it too boot up, connect to the internet, and then login to my email.

Having to make an effort to use things, slowed me down and also made me consider whether or not it was worth it. Is it worth the four minute wait to check my emails? Or should I just check them the next time I login to browse or look up something? I really miss having this buffer between me and gratification, because I think my life was better for it.

For years, I’ve had this fantasy of using a desktop computer again. Having a defined computer space like I once did that wasn’t as comfy as cuddling up in bed with my laptop or iPad. A place to use the computer like the tool that it is, instead of a place to continiously look for happiness and not find it. I haven’t gotten there yet, but I’m ready to start taking some steps to accomplish it.

My first step is to cut down on computer time late at night. I’ve been doing pretty good with reading before bed once more, and I need to set a firm boundary. I believe 9 PM is going to be my cut off. No browsing, website work, or scrolling, just reading.

IF I can keep this up for a month, I may cut down on my time in the morning with the internet and then continue to make adjustments from there. But, for now, I gotta start small. I’m hoping this will help me complete some books I’ve begun as well and allow me to transition to sleep better.

We take in a lot of information everyday, way more than any generation before. It’s no wonderful we are all strung out, confused, frustrated, and anxious. Our poor brains are just processing so much every single day. It’s time I take back control and give my brain a rest. I’m very interested in seeing what effect this may have on my mental health if I can make this work.

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