Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Thoughts on Last Week's News Blackout

I embarked upon my news blackout primarily because the election coverage and the Cubs slump causing me fits of anxiety over things I had no control. I also figured I might see an increase in productivity as a result.

I learned a number of things. Yes, my anxiety levels were slackened somewhat. I regained some perspective on the world and now I read election and Cubs coverage without the same tightening feeling in my chest or numbness in my left arm.

I also learned that I spend a lot time during the day reading the news. I didn’t necessarily experience a huge spike in my productivity, but I certainly got more work done, both personal and professional. I’m a curious person, by nature, and I read the news so I can learn things. Unfortunately, I get sucked in by one article which leads me to another and another until suddenly I’ve lost time and the ability to concentrate. I want to just read interesting things all day instead of working or doing more important things, like blogging.

All in all, it was a worth experiment. I now know I need to cut back on my news surfing at work in favor of more productive pursuits, but I also learned that I don’t want to be completely cut off form the news all the time either.

I also learned how impossible it is to completely cut yourself off form the news. Things still filtered down to me. I think I’d have to go live in a cave somewhere to really experience a news blackout. But I don’t think I’ll go that far.

(Photo: Men and a woman reading headlines posted in street-corner window of Brockton Enterprise newspaper office on Christmas Eve 1914. From the Flickr Commons.)

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In 1789, the governor of Australia granted land and some animals to James Ruse in an experiment to see how long it would take him to support himself. Within 15 months he had become self sufficient. The area is still known as Experiment Farm. This is my Experiment Farm to see how long it will take me to support myself by writing.