Fixing My Brain: Less Is More

So, I resolved for New Year’s to become a Slow Reader once again. One week in, it’s working! I have finished the book I started months ago, read a novella, and started on another book.

On Monday, my new Kindle arrived. Isn’t it cute? No bells, no whistles, except a handy connection to my Goodreads list. Just books. And the screen really is easier on my eyes than my tablet screen. Funny how sometimes a technology downgrade can be a good idea.

2-slow reader
Now the reader is just for reading.

I also followed up on the library plan: yesterday I went to pick up the book I had on hold and brought home a couple more books as well. I had forgotten how much I love to go to the library, especially on a cold day!

British mystery, geeky history, and knitting. Everything I need for the coldest week of the winter.
British mystery, geeky history, and knitting. Everything I need for the coldest week of the winter. And no Facebook notifications.

I am definitely feeling more relaxed and sleeping better now that I “cut the cord” to the Internet an hour or so before bedtime and read a book instead. Am I still ditzy? I guess we’ll find out this summer when we pack out, ha!

I had begun to try to control incoming information a while back. A few months ago, I quit a very active Foreign Service Facebook group for privacy reasons. I soon noticed that it was kind of a relief not to be party to all the discussions on it. So, I tweaked my feed to stop notifications from most of the various groups I participate in. Now I see posts only when I want to: if I feel like chatting about the FS, I go to the appropriate group, and if I feel like chatting about genealogy, I do the same. But I don’t see random posts about stuff I don’t actually care about anymore.

I made another Facebook change more recently. I gradually unfollowed about three-quarters of the sites I had been following, mostly news and political sites. It was getting to where I hardly saw any information from friends because Facebook had decided I didn’t want to. After the clean-up, my feed has gone back to being mostly photos, recommended articles, and other updates from friends. It’s like I turned the volume down. I really like it, and I am spending less time on Facebook because I can see what I am interested in right away. Another instance of less being more.

But, I do like to read news. So, a few days ago, I returned to that dinosaur of the Internet, a Yahoo home page. I had one ten years ago, and now I have it again. All my favorite news feeds in one place—and not mixed up with my virtual social life! It ain’t fancy, but it works. I can click through a few articles over coffee in the morning and get my fix.

Finally, I spent some time over the holidays relentlessly unsubscribing and filtering emails in my inbox. Most of my work emails are now diverted directly into a folder so that I can see them when I am working—and avoid them when I am not!  I also found an app called Unroll Me that combines all the advertising emails that I am still subscribed to into one digest every day. My inbox is now half the size it was a month ago. I love it.

I’ve concluded that just because you can do something online, doesn’t mean you should. It’s like cable TV: we all have about  400 channels on cable TV, but we watch maybe five of them, right? That’s why remotes have a Favorites button. It’s not so you can find your favorites quickly, it’s so you can completely ignore all the other junk!

The Internet is a similar beast. For all the advantages it offers (especially to those of us who move around a lot!), it can drown out the quieter pleasures in your life if you let it. And mess with your concentration.

I’m going to continue to work on taming it.

 

 

 

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One comment

  1. ooh what kind of Kindle did you get? I got a Voyage for Christmas and love it! I have a Fire that is good for short trips if I want to be able check email and Facebook without lugging along my laptop, but I’ve never loved reading on that screen. I had an old Kindle with a keyboard (2nd gen maybe?) but that seems to have disappeared somewhere in the course of my latest FS move, so I’m delighted to have this new one because the e-ink screen is just so lovely to read on. good luck with the books- somehow I can never make electronic borrowing work from my library but I hope it goes better for you 🙂

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