Always Overindulging? Go on a Low Information Diet

When I was a kid, my dad read the newspaper every single morning. He wanted to be up to date with what was going on in the world. These days, actual paper newspapers are nearly obsolete, but news and information is everywhere you turn.

Google, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, text messages, RSS feeds, magazines, billboards, television, radio … aaaagh! If you seriously try to pay attention to it all, it’s enough to make your head spin and drive you insane. That’s why I recommend following a low information diet.

Even though valuable information really is necessary and helpful, most of what you see and hear is useless. I’m not kidding. If you ever really stop for a minute and pay attention to everything that’s swirling around you at a hundred miles an hour, the majority of it is irrelevant, biased, or deceptive.

Low Information Diet = More Time for You

Don’t believe me? Look at a few different magazine covers the next time you’re standing in line at the grocery store. You’ll see three different tabloids with the same person’s picture and three conflicting headlines lined up right next to each other. Obviously, most celebrity gossip is just a bunch of junk, but how would you choose which one to believe? Something’s got to be true, right? Who knows! A low information diet gives you the ability to ignore most of that stuff.

A lot of people are news junkies because it tends to make them feel important. They like being able to say, “Hey, did you hear about …” to the people around them. Talking about stuff you just read might offer a short-lived self-esteem boost, but in reality paying attention to all that stuff is a huge time waster.

Choose Your Reading Materials Wisely

I decided awhile back that a low information diet is the way to go. It’s way too easy to get sidetracked otherwise. Some advocates of the low information diet would probably feel that I read too much—I DO read a lot—but I pick and choose my reading material wisely. I only read things that are relevant and add value to my life.

I read books that are pertinent to my career, but I’m choosy– I only listen to three “internet marketing” gurus, ignoring the rest. Heck, I even ignore the news! The only blogs I read are those of my online friends. It’s way, way too easy to sit around and waste half the day reading blogs when you could be doing something productive.

The only magazine I read is Outside. It’s about fitness, travel, adventures—my kinda thing, which is why it’s my “pleasure reading.” That’s also why I’m usually three or four issues behind.

Skipping dessert when you’re on a diet can help you lose weight, and reducing the amount of “noise” in your life can help you become a more accomplished person. Since going on my low information diet, I’ve become way more productive and I’m willing to be it’ll do the same for you.

Take Action. Get Results.

19 thoughts on “Always Overindulging? Go on a Low Information Diet”

  1. Steve,

    You have made a great point here brother.

    I have also made some drastic changes on the blogs I read and comment on over the past month. Now, I am down to a list of 5 blogs that I regularly read – this being one of them (O:

    Like you said, I don’t want to overload myself with unnecessary junk. It not only saves me time but also helps to focus on things that are important.


  2. So SO! true. I love discovering new and better sources of information but the problem with that is that Im constantly chasing the information dragon.

    So one way I try to cut down on information intake is to stick to authoritative sources. This usually means preferring a book over a blog post (thos I do read a ton of blogs as well)…damn it….this will never end lol

    • yeah, I still read tons of blogs, though books are my “favorites” too. I try to keep as many of them as the “friends” of my blog as I can. The bad thing is that sometimes I see someone and realize that for one reason or another I havent been to their blog in weeks. Always makes me feel bad, and maybe miss something really good.

  3. Hi Steve,

    I haven’t followed the news for 5 years. It took me a few days to get drift of the recent Egyptian situation. Not because I don’t care, but because I go with the wisdom in this quote:

    “Why so much concern over news from abroad when all that concerns life or death is within?”

    Such a great point about all of the useless information out there. Many feel empty and seek fillers. Enter newspapers or magazines. Great fillers for people who desire a deeper definite major purpose but lack the conviction to pursue it.

    I see the need some feel for keeping abreast of day to day news. You can do this in about 30 seconds. Check the headlines, move on. No need to dwell on the negativity laden stories of murder, rape, poverty. How does it serve you? How does it serve the people who are suffering? Unless you do something constructive about it, and how many people really do something constructive about horrible news stories? Nope, it’s better to feed your mind the good stuff so you can do good stuff for others.

    Thanks for sharing Steve and enjoy your weekend!


    • You make a good point. I don’t want people to think that i believe news is worthless. It isn’t. But for some dissecting every little snippet of what is going on seems important. You simply do not need to do that in my opinion. Like you said, headlines and perhaps a brief synopsis should get you a brief of what is going on, unless of course the news really has a specific impact on you. In which case, of course, knowledge is power.

  4. Hi Steve:

    Reading your post and seeing the comments to the post, I just wondered, Is internet man’s world? This is beside the blog post, it just occurred, as I experienced it.
    Yes I agree with you about minimizing information over load. I tell the same to people living with me who only live for the news.

    I wish everyone can understand your point of view.

    Fran A

    • Fran,
      Your comment got me wondering about how much of a mans world it was. No huge research project, but I spent about 5 minutes trying to find a definitive answer on the percentage of bloggers and internet users are female. Unfortunately I cold not get a comprehensive answer from a reputable source i believed. I saw stats for 40% up to 60%. Which leads me to believe that it is generally actually fairly even.

      Alexa tells me MY site is about 60/40 with women being the 60% and my target demographic (my largest bracket) being 55-64 yr old women. But who is to say if that info is good. I do have some doubts about Alexa’s stats.

      so really not sure if it is a man’s world. Sorry for the sidetrack in comment…but you did get me wondering too! 🙂

  5. This is my approach as well Steve – I’ve been cutting out a lot of information lately because, let’s face it, too much can just either distract you or mess with your creativity. When you’re working on something and you get side tracked by something you’ve read, it influences you on how you would naturally create something – sometimes turning off the info valves will make you projects better.

  6. Steve,

    Having not had the television in my house for over 7 years now, I could’t agree more.

    After all, what good is news that is not the whole truth, in return for our invaluable time? And for all those who listen to all possible crap, if they could tell me one thing that they changed for the betterment of humanity after having been inspired by that news, I’d be impressed.

    Just as an example, think about what TSA did last Thanksgiving… could anyone do anything to fight back? I’m not being pessimistic here, but just pointing out that it doesn’t really matter whether we know everything that is going on everyone or not. The only thing that matters is what we do to make a positive difference. And the question to everyone (me included) is, “can you be that difference?”


    • Wow, 7 years without TV. Great props to you. Even though I am an advocate against wasting time, I do sometimes find myself watching TV. But I keep it under 3 hours a week, and usually am at least “half” doing something else while I watch it.

      I agree. I am not saying to NEVER read the news. OF course keeping apprised in general is important. But there is only so much you need to know. I keep up th the point where I know enerally what is going on in something current like Egypt, i could talk about it..but I do not follow it to the point where I know what Honsi Mubarak had for lunch yesterday. Too much of it is repetive and like you say nothing we can do to much about. When the news IS something that can be acted upon it is far more important to get out there and do something…like you said!

  7. Hi Steve

    I do read and watch the news. Like to know what is going on in the world around me. However, I do agree with how easy it is to get “information overload” when we are starting out. I sure did and it can cause a lot of confusion too!

    So many so called “experts” telling us we must have the latest whatever or we won’t succeed. I am now more selective with the blogs I read. Whereas I wanted to learn about blogging and all that entails when I started out; now I want to know more about affiliate marketing and how to take my fledgling business to the next level.

    So my reading has changed and as I am getting busier, have to limit how many blog posts I read daily too. Thanks as always for useful information well worth reading Steve.

    Patricia Perth Australia

    • It certainly does seem a bit “much” with all the good info out there. It is easy to get tied to “finding out more” and not taking steps. It seems to me you are an action taker. you learn new things, but you learn them WHILE you are doing. To me that is the key. Learning new tricks and techniques are powerful, but when you learn then AND figure things out on your won while doing it is far better. One thing that discourages me are when people want to know EVERYTHING before they are willing to even start. WIth the way things change , that just means they will never start…because i have been doing this for years and still find out new things.

  8. Great point Steve. I used to read hundreds of blogs on a regular basis, now I pay attention to only a handful and have an active headline skimming process in place. This allows me to keep up with what’s really valuable but still be up to date on all my niches.

    • I still like to check out the blogs of people who comment here, and people that i know/have a relationship with. That alone takes up a fair share of blog reading. But cutting everything else back to the ones that really provide information can be a godsend. Sometimes you might miss out on something really good, buthopefully someone you DO visit will point it out.

  9. I’ve been cutting down on the number of blogs I read since the fall when I started to explore the concept of a digital sabbatical. I haven’t made the full leap to cut ties with technology completely, but I have been using my laptop less and less as each day goes by. I do have a lot of blogs in my feed reader only for me to be able to choose the type of content I want to read when I have time to read it. I don’t want to limit myself to say 20 blogs, because there is a lot of great writing out there. I follow roughly 100 blogs, but don’t read everything posted to them, and have them broken up into broad categories (like culture, paleo lifestyle, inspiration, sports). I pick a folder I want to look at when the mood fits me.

    I’m hoping to finish my list of blogs this week, hopefully. Do you plan on sharing the list of blogs you’re reading since they are few in number?

  10. Same goes here with all the information overload. I’ve cut it down to a few informative blogs and mostly books only ones that provide the most valuable resources.

  11. Steve,
    This is important advice. First the news is not information; it is propaganda. Second it is distracting from what is important. Third there is little you can do to influence what is happening in the news. What is important is a community and creating influence and growing leadership skills. This means action not passively listening to the news. It means interacting with people- in face or on the web. It means finding people who can inspire you and take you past your limits. And maybe doing the same for others when you can.

  12. Hey Steve, I am really interested to know which 3 internet marketing gurus you follow? Could you please share their names?

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