Information Overkill...

Most diets start in January as people start a New Year with the intention to loose a few pounds in weight. For a few days, at least, junk food  and unhealthy options with have been replaced with healthier alternatives.

But by the middle of January, most people will have given up on the diet and gone back to the old ways –  a Starbucks Blueberry muffin for breakfast and a Big Mac for lunch, claiming that the diet wasn’t really for them, or, more likely, simply forgetting all about it altogether as they slip slowly back into their old ways.

The reason diets, and New Year resolutions for that matter, don’t work for many people is because the goal isn’t sufficiently formed as a habit in the mind of the person “committing” to it.

In the book Psycho Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz,  Maltz identified that it takes 21 days to form a habit – but the good news is that you only need to spend 15 minutes a day practicing the habit (preferably at the same time each day) to create the connection in your mind and form the habit. After 21 days it becomes progressively more difficult to fall back in to the old ways.

All diets work. By that I mean that the promoters of the diet can point to evidence that they work for somebody (look at Subway with Jared Fogle)

But as an entrepreneur and business owner you can’t take chances. You don’t have the time for that. You want a diet that works which ensures you get stuff done.

So let me tell you about my diet – an adaption of Tim Ferriss’  Low Information Diet from the 4 Hour Work Week.

The Low Information Diet

A low information diet is exactly what it says on the tin. You read and watch less, you understand more and get more stuff done.

For most people (unless you’re a stock or commodities trader), day to day knowledge of the news does not have a direct impact on their ability to carry out day to day tasks.In fact I can’t think of a single piece of news that I’ve seen on TV or read in a newspaper has directly impacted my business or income.In fact, given that there’s always a bias towards “bad news” (some reports say 17 “bad news” stories for every good news story) – hearing or reading constant bad news will have a negative effect on your mood and can possibly lead to depression.

There’s no doubt bad news sells.

As Elliot Carver the villain in Tomorrow Never Dies said in his “world domination speech” there’s “no news like bad news”

Worse still, for many people – news is very addictive (thus taking up even more time) – especially given the advances in technology allowing the viewer or reader to see real time action from the scene or interviews with key witnesses or people involved.

I remember being glued to Sky news for hours in March 2003 when the first cruise missiles was fired into Baghdad – all the technology and interactive reporting draws you to want more and more information, which takes up more and more time.

Consequently when you’re conditioned to knowing everything about a subject then you’re less likely to get anything done.

So instead of actually trying something and seeing what happens you might find your time reading books/blog posts going on courses – learning everything and anything about the subject instead of actually doing something.

Implementing a Low Information Diet

By going on a low information diet, you’ll have more time to actually do things.

The most common thing people say to me when I tell them I don’t read newspapers or watch the news is “how do you know what’s going on?”

Well, the truth is you never actually escape the news.

For example, the other day whilst I was waiting for a coffee in the coffee shop I glanced the headlines of the paper. When you go to the gym they often have the news headlines scrolling across the bottom of the screen.

But the easiest thing is when you speak with someone, ask them what’s big in the news.

So, in a general sense, you’ll still know what goes on, but have more time to actually do something.

f you want to get more stuff done, adopt an low information diet.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Turn off Email Notifications – If you’re forever checking email, you’ll never get anything done and you’ll get bogged down dealing with minutiae, when you should be focused on growing your business.

2. Cut out TV News – instead of sitting down to watch the news do something else for the duration of the news, answer your emails, workout, use the time to talk to your spouse partner.
3. Stop buying a newspaper – again the time you normally would read the newspaper, make sure you do something else for the same length of time you would normally spend reading the newspaper.
4. Limit of 3 – When doing research for an idea, blog post, or whatever, limit yourself to 3 pieces of relevant information on the subject.
5. Keep Relevant – Each month only read articles (not complete magazines) or blog posts only relevant to a specific subject area in your business. Maybe one month you’re learning how to use social media for your business, for the next month you only read articles relating to social media. The next month, pick another subject and only write articles about that.Remember, to make this habit effective you need to do it for at least 21 days. To make it easier to implement and adopt a new habit, make sure that you have something planned to do instead at the time you would normally watch the news or read the paper and make sure you do that instead.If you want help getting organised and figuring out how to get more stuff done and grow your business have a look here

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