Migrated from Blogger – original post from December 9, 2007

Here I am in front of my computer, realizing just how often I sit here and:

  • Check my email
  • Review my personal finances through MS Money and my online banking
  • Check my email
  • Go through my daily physical mail, processing each bill and comparing it to the previous statements
  • Check my email
  • Browse the news websites
  • Check my email

Huh, [scratching head], I think I see a pattern here.

In Chapter 6 of Timothy Ferriss’ bestselling book “The 4-Hour Workweek” he recommends going on a “Low-Information Diet”. The first set of requirements? “Go on an immediate one-week media fast.”

He stipulates the following:

  • No newspapers, magazines, audiobooks, or non-music radio. Music is permitted at all times.
  • No news websites whatsoever (cnn.com, drudgereport.com, msn.com, etc.)
  • No television at all, except for one hour of pleasure viewing each evening.
  • No reading books, except for this one book and one hour of fiction pleasure reading prior to bed.
  • No Web surfing at the desk unless it is necessary to complete a work task for that day. Necessary means necessary, not nice to have.

I stare at the list [gulp] and keep reading. I read on to Chapter 7, where he discusses ‘Time Wasters’. I nearly rebel as I read the following:

1. Turn off the audible alert if you have one on Outlook or a similar program and turn off automatic send/receive, which delivers e-mail to your inbox as soon as someone sends them.

2. Check e-mail twice per day, once at 12:00 noon or just prior to lunch, and again at 4:00 p.m. [These] are times that ensure you will have the most responses from previously sent e-mail. Never check e-mail first thing in the morning. Instead, complete your most important task before 11:00 a.m. to avoid using lunch or reading e-mail as a postponement excuse.

“No way,” I say as I read the instructions on e-mail, “No WAY! I need to be able to check first thing in the morning!” Instead I write in my notebook, reduce checking email to four times a day: 1st thing in the morning, again at noon, again at 4:00 p.m., and finally at 7 p.m.

Then the daydream hits…

I’m new here and the moment I have been dreading finally comes. I walk up to the podium slowly, feeling each set of eyes upon me as I stop, turn, and face them. I take a deep breath and let it out in a rush and just say it, “Hi, my name is Christine and I am an information addict.”

The group chimes in return, “Hi Christine!”

The fantasy melts away.

Umm, yeah, so like Timothy was saying, less email is better. And if it will keep me from having to attend a newly formed IA (Information Addicts Anonymous) meeting in the near future than I’m ready to make the change!

Still unable to bring myself to such an extreme restriction I settle on checking email three times a day.

  • Once 1st thing in the morning (but after I have drafted a ‘to-do’ list for the day)
  • Once at noon
  • And then finally (that’s it Christine, NO more for today!!!!) at 4 p.m.

To summarize, on December 9th, 2007, I committed to:

  • Process all incoming postal mail once a week, on Thursday, instead of on a daily basis
  • Process all financials (online payments, balancing checkbooks, paying staff members and any bills) on each Thursday instead of daily.
  • Check my email a maximum of three times a day (I sent out an email to everyone informing them of this change).
  • Reduce my television viewing to one hour per day maximum
  • Re-introduce one hour of fiction reading each evening at bedtime
  • Eliminate reading of any media websites, newspapers or magazines.
  • Reduce all reading to either “The 4-Hour Workweek” or one of my Life Coaching study books (I need to continue my studies, so that is a reasonable tweak to Farriss’ suggestions)
  • Eliminate all web/internet surfing unless needed for work that day. (Oh lord, this means no online shopping. I think I may die. Yes, yes it’s possible to die from lack of online shopping.)

Hi. My name is Christine and I am an information addict.

Check back in with me for updates as I wade into the sea of the unknown—adulthood faced with NO unnecessary computer use, NO unnecessary television use, and NO unnecessary reading. I strongly suspect that my days are going to be very, very different…