Guest Blogger: Barefoot Essence – I am removing a 4-letter word from my vocabulary

19 Dec

Please welcome back the lovely Jackie from Barefoot Essence. Jackie has contributed many times to VBU! and I HIGHLY suggest you search for her blog name on VBU! to see her many posts. This particular post below reminds me of an “a-ha” moment. I know you’ll enjoy reading this and sharing in her insight. You can follow Barefoot Essence on: Facebook, Twitter and of course the blog. Welcome back Jackie!

A few months back you may recall I removed a certain 4-letter word from my vocabulary. It is not what you are thinking. That word was ‘busy’. After hearing myself and others overuse this term to death, I replaced ‘I am too busy’, ‘I am so crazy busy’, ‘life is just too busy’ with what I was actually doing, or not giving any excuses at all.

Busy is a choice

This turned into ‘I forgot to call you back’, ‘I can get together next weekend’, ‘I was running errands’. In that post I also threw in some stakes to hold me to it and help keep me honest. I said that if anyone heard me say ‘I was too busy’, I would donate $50 to their favorite charity. This worked for me, and I was happier to be more honest with people. Read the original post here – I am removing a 4-letter word from my vocabulary.

This post is along the lines of freeing up time. I first read of this idea in the 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. Who offers up dozens of ‘why didn’t I think of that?’ palm to forehead moments.

The four-letter word here is news. In the essence of minimalism to be bombarded with constant news from the world and from friends all day can be overwhelming and extremely unproductive. I used to subscribe to dozens of newsletters and blogs, delivered straight to my inbox. These messages were jamming up my email, and my brain.

Go on a news diet

I decided about a year ago to go on a diet. I was not going to try out this diet for a week. This was a lifestyle change. As news feeds started landing in my inbox I asked myself if that tidbit of news changed my day, or my life in any way. Did I act any differently? Did I really need to know this? Usually I didn’t. Hit that magical unsubscribe button. Done! I also used to watch both the morning and the evening news to ‘stay in know’ of world happenings. There were stories of mayhem and murder in far off places, what some Kardashawholigan wore to the grocery store yesterday who left the house without makeup. The horror. I generally avoid tabloids, in Lisa Bloom’s words ‘garbage in, garbage out’, but even so called credible or ‘serious” news sources report copious amounts of fluff.

If news is that important, I will hear about it.

Doing this frees up a ton of time and energy. Direct my thoughts elsewhere. Earthquake in Japan? Terrible, but do I need to know this as it happens? We are obsessed with information, having this burning need to know the latest information first to impress our friends. I am more content and focused on the present moment not knowing what things are going on in the world. If I want news, I will seek it out on my own terms instead of letting it constantly bash me over the head.

I started drafting this post earlier last week and made some additions based on a mind-numbing tragedy that occurred on Friday. I heard about the shooting through reading through my Facebook feed. I am happier than ever that I am not constantly tuned into the ‘news’. I did not seek out any news after this happened. All I knew was there was a shooting in Connecticut at a school and kids were killed. That is ALL I needed to know. I do not need to know the ins and outs of who did it, who his family was, what the current gun laws are, what could have been done. Doesn’t matter, it is done. I tear up at the thought of what the families are going through. I could not tune into the news to hear more about it. If you are interested, I posted my initial thoughts on the event in a brief post on Friday.

I put ‘news’ in quotes, because I have heard from talking to people that the ‘facts’ have been misquoted constantly throughout the reporting of this story. Another reason I am happy that I tuned out of the news a while back. Any time I hopped on Facebook over the weekend, it was worse. Reading misguided and inaccurate posts and watching picture after silly picture be posted left me disheartened, frustrated, and embarrassed. I tuned out of Facebook for the rest of the weekend.

If you have never tried a news diet, try it for just a week. If any week to start it, this is the week. How many ways do you need to hear Friday’s terrible news reported? How many inaccuracies do you want to hear? How many spins and opinions do you want to hear?

Do you think any news reported this week will change your life?

Start today, right after reading this. Part of my job requires I am on top of certain news, if this is the case, keep it at that. Outside of your job, turn off the news channels, take a break from CNN and MSNBC. If you need to know what is happening in the world ask someone if there is anything exciting happening in the world today. Notice you are talking to people more? See how you feel. Did you miss anything? Did you regret not knowing something three seconds after it happened? Did it have a negative impact on your life? Once your week of no news is wrapped up, try minimizing the noise in your inbox and only let in information that you really need to know.

Tips to get less ‘news':

  1. Unsubscribe to newsletters or blogs you no longer read, even if that means this one
  2. To save your inbox from tons of news, sales pitches and ads, set up a separate email address just for this purpose. Have news automatically forwarded to another email address or folder so you are not distracted by these messages as they roll in.
  3. Cancel magazine subscriptions you no longer read. If they pile up on your ottoman and it feels like a chore to read them, eliminate it.
  4. Talk to human beings, face-to-face and on the phone. You will get all the news you need.

I would love to hear your experiences. Let me know how taking a break or scaling back on ‘news’ worked for you. What did you do instead? How did you feel?

xoxo

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4 Responses to “Guest Blogger: Barefoot Essence – I am removing a 4-letter word from my vocabulary”

  1. An Unrefined Vegan December 19, 2012 at 10:38 am #

    Yes, yes, yes!! We “gave up” our TV over 5 years ago and I haven’t missed it for one second. Not only do we avoid the constant bombardment of bad news/commercials/wretched programming, we have so much more time now and are more active.

    • Barefoot Essence (@BarefootEssence) December 19, 2012 at 5:12 pm #

      I love how you put ‘gave up’ in quotes. In our last home we moved the TV to the basement, it was liberating! Now it’s in our living room because we live in a loft, but instead of watching the ‘news’ we watch netflix movies…or my favorite – the food network.

  2. spinachrevolution December 20, 2012 at 8:51 am #

    I have slowly started unsubscribing from mail list that I just automatically delete when it hits my mail box. I am not brave enough to do it to all of them yet, but this is a great challenge. I also enjoyed your previous post about giving up the ‘busy’ word.
    Also, we still have a TV but I have also stopped watching shows, just-for-the-sake-of-watching. After a while, you realise how much rubbish is on TV and how much time is wasted when one can be out living life..
    Thank you for a great post.

    • Barefoot Essence (@BarefootEssence) December 20, 2012 at 9:47 am #

      Thank you! I am glad you liked both of these posts. I have a hard time unsubscribing from some mailing lists too. I figure if I delete an email from the same sender five times without reading it, then I probably should unsubscribe.
      Also totally agree how much you realize just how much life you are missing when you turn time-wasters off.

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