Deleting Social and News Apps to Improve Focus and Creativity

I was in New Orleans this week for Collision, and one of my colleagues asked me how I maintain productivity and energy.

My immediate answer: “delete all the social and news apps from my phone.”

This may sound like a strange answer for a tech entrepreneur and investor, but five months ago, I removed all social and news apps from my phone and I haven’t looked back.

I did this after I read the The Organized Mind at the end of last year.

This book reinforced my view that too much noise exists in modern life.

And the small, tiny, unimportant,  inconsequential decisions we make daily only serve to add to that noise.
Every piece of information we consume adds to our cognitive load.

Tweets, Posts on Facebook, Instagram photos, YouTube videos, Snapchats, Texts – they all weigh down our brain, which can only make so many decisions in a day.

Just read this post on the detrimental effects of Facebook.

Basically – it goes somethings like this:

Can’t Sleep ~> Use Facebook ~> Less Likely to Sleep ~> Use More Facebook

A downward spiral.

In addition, I unsubscribed from a bunch of email newsletters.

I installed SaneBox, an email filtering service that actually works.

I setup IFTTT to email me pics of any photos Sarah posts of Greyson on Instagram.

Now, instead of consuming small nibbles of information, I read books on my Kindle and long-form articles people send my way.
And any “important” news magically finds its way to me. I may seem shockingly ignorant in social situations when it comes to world events and pop culture, but I actually prefer that! It’s more interesting to let other people tell me about the news.

For me, it’s been all about reducing noise in the system, letting me focus on the things I choose to focus on.

I can say with certainty that I have more time in my day and feel that my focus and attention span has improved. I also feel like the “Fear Of Missing Out” emotion is disappearing as well.

While in Q4 and Q1, I haven’t really written much, I think it was just because I have been exhausted. I also probably need to take a Paid Paid Vacation soon as well. 

But now, several months later, I can feel my creative juices starting to stir in a big way. I’m not quite back to the point where I am ready to tackle some big meaty projects quite yet, but I am getting closer.

I think I will try to make it the rest of the year without social and news apps.  

Who knows – if I like it, it might become a permanent thing in my life.  Time will tell.

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