4 steps for a HEALTHY MEDIA DIET
Today let’s talk about something slightly different. It is a fact that information sharing and media could ruin our life. In fact, we receive so many inputs from our blue screens, to be completely overdosed sometimes.
What happens is a bit of a paradox: we are immersed in inputs, advices and ideas, but we are becoming more and more immune. The main problem is that we are continuously exposed to media, in a way that is becoming ineffective, as we are absorbing information also when it is not necessary: the risk is that cool inputs, unmissable info and bright ideas will no longer be effective as we will be no longer able to absorb these and recognise the diamonds between the stones.
How much of this information creates real value in our lives? The answer to this question convinced me to finally begin my media diet.
Today I would propose to leave for a second of the strategy topics, to have a moment to focus on our daily well-being, on how the media consumption of information is affecting our day, and on how we can get the best out of it. It is really like food, it is really like diet!
Stop for a moment. Take some time to quickly reflect on your own media habits: this is the first step towards a better media diet and a great time management.
If we realise that our activities are often fragmented between work, social networks, email checking, updates on the latest news, entertainment readings, shopping, and even more, then it’s maybe worth assessing whether these behaviours are not even detrimental to the achievement of our goals, being these personal or professional.
Our everyday media so far!
Every day, many of us spend most of the time juggling themselves in a disproportionate amount of news, messages, emails, advertisements, notifications, data, updates. Above all, the web is the best source to get all sort of inputs and contents, that is more or less useful and, sometimes, completely empty of value. Taken from this endless flow of information, we are faced with a series of issues, with more or less evident consequences on our daily lives.
In fact, unlike traditional media, whose use is mainly bound to leisure, digital media are repeatedly insinuating in our daily life. It is not easy to keep the focus on your intentions, but it is necessary to keep an eye on the side effects that undermine our personal well-being.
The real issue is called “dissatisfaction”. In fact, it’s so easy to find information about what interests us that it has become difficult to select, filter, and organise the content. Discerning information – selecting the useful ones – is one of the basic principles to become more productive.
Many times, we find ourselves “trapped in the net” and we waste time with data that does not translate neither into productivity nor knowledge. Our attention jumps from one stimulus to another and we struggle to maintain concentration, ending to procrastinate those tasks that take us longer than expected. At the end of the day, we complain about stress and we are overwhelmed by a sense of dissatisfaction.
The “digital minimalism”
I want to take inspiration from the “less is more” approach for our daily media diet, understanding what steps we can put in place to create balanced and a productive diet. This will drastically reduce exposure time to superfluous stimuli, allowing us to get back our ability to discerning information, and eventually get us back on a satisfying daily media consumption!
Here the 4 steps for getting our media diet back on track!
CUT SOCIAL MEDIA – as sugars, a respectable media diet must at least partially exclude the social networks. The Internet and social media are able to waste a lot of your time, even more than television, so let’s start our media diet from here. These fantastic instruments are now part of our lives. For some of us these are even a real social life, that can no longer be waived. The importance of these networks also for work purposes is enormous and we surely can’t deny their incredible potential. Exactly as sugars. It is not about eliminate them, it is about try to limit their use to the right amount and exploit them solely for the purpose they perform. Do not make them use you. You are not obliged to respond immediately to all messages or comments (in particular personal ones), so do not allow socials to dictate your schedule! Dedicate only a part of it, and define time windows for accessing your profile.
DO NOT ABUSE WITH EMAILS AND WHATSAPP – emails are now essential for most jobs and for our “online life”. However, you should avoid controlling your mail account obsessively. Pay attention to how long you need to read the mail. Again, remember that you do not have to respond immediately to all the emails you receive, take the time you need without letting your time run to others. Same with messaging apps like WhatsApp: avoid spasmodically watching the chat waiting for a message (of course, this is valid if you are not having a crush on someone, otherwise, you are fully justified!).
LOOK FOR REAL PEOPLE OFFLINE – take all your friends, colleagues and, why not, also strangers and make them a substantial part of your day. Chat, discuss, share, compare – human relationships enrich us. Asking an opinion to a competent person means having a quality opinion and showing appreciation for it. Do experiences with people that are different from you means broadening your horizons and being exposed to a wider range of opportunities.
TRY DETOX – at the end of the day, the purpose for a healthy media diet is only one – to eliminate unnecessary or harmful information. Sometimes you simply need to take a break from all sort of information, even the useful ones, and have a complete substantial detox. It is not harmful, nothing bad will happen to you, and you are going to be even more active in absorbing info, as this will allow your brain to stop and recharge its batteries.
A final remark for your media wellbeing!
Probably the most important lesson concerns time management and interpersonal relationships. We live in an era where “ignoring” has become the rule. We live in a world where we are immerged in the digital space, and where we often get away from the rest of the world: who reads a book, who listens to full-volume music, who controls the last updates or notifications on the phone/tablet.
Perhaps we should focus more on what we are doing and on the people we are surrounded by, without leaving room for useless interruptions. We should be present always, whatever we do. Only in this way can we be sure to spend the best time and energy for things that really matters. You can have fun watching people sit next to you on the bus, or take the less busy and scenic road to enjoy a bit of relaxation. It is not important to do it always, but being open and smiling at the world is very good for health!
Do you have a media diet? We are very curious to know more, tell us everything!
by Chiara Lamacchia