My self-imposed Media Blackout is officially over. Overall, I’m really pleased with the results. Productivity went way up, and while I don’t think this is all due to the Blackout, it was a factor. Some stats:
Important news stories I missed out on:
None that I can find. I knew about the new trillion $ spending package, because Mark told me. They do know there are numbers lower than a trillion, right?
Pissy little news stories I missed out on:
- Octomom fires her kids’ nurses
- Yet more dishing about singer Rihanna and what she should do about her relationship with abuser Chris Brown (my vote: tune out the media completely and just take care of herself)
Times I cheated:
Several. Most of these were fairly innocent slips: Mark likes to watch Mad Money; I like to sit with Mark. I can’t follow most of what Jim Cramer says anyway.
The worst offense was probably the first night, after I spent several hours on the web dealing with various government forms (it turns out my marriage license IS my marriage certificate). After that I really felt like I needed to float in the billowy warmth of the interwebs. So I loaded up the Freakonomics blog and just scanned through the post titles. I did not inhale!
Times I greeted Mark at the door with an irate comment about what Congress had been up to that day:
Changes to Productivity:
Substantial, and all for the better. I’m not sure this can be attributed solely to the Blackout; I also acquired a lovely new car, which enabled me to get out the the library more often. And I got back to blocking out my schedule in a serious fashion, which also helped.
But the Blackout was a boon to my work life, I think. It increased productivity at least somewhat, especially in the morning, when I often spend a good bit of time surfing the web. And increased productivity leads to increased momentum, which creates mroe productivity… you get the picture. It was a good thing.
Changes to Mood:
Also substantial, and for the better. Part of that is attributable to… let’s hear it again… increased productivity!
But I honestly believe that lowering my news quotient was good for my soul. I was spending an unpleasant amount of time angry, and that’s just no good. This week was a great break from all that. It reminded me of the kind of person I want to be: Someone who values other people, whether or not they agree with me; someone who looks for the best in others and not the worst.
I want to take something of this week with me, but I don’t necessarily want to tune out entirely. So here’s the plan. Some of my websties will become dailies: major news sites, friends’ blogs, and Murderati are a few. I’ll look at these once a day, after work. Everything else will become a weekly: I’ll check them out on Friday and ignore them the rest of the week. And I think I’ll do a regular Blackout: say, every three months.
I hope this will let me keep my hand in without getting totally absorbed in the big media machine. If nothing else, it should give me more time for writing!