Thursday, 29 October 2020
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Confessions of a recovering info junkie Bruno Bučar/Unsplash

Confessions of a recovering info junkie

Daring myself, last week I decided to take a one-week fast from news and information. Cold turkey.

The rules? First, no television except for a Hallmark show Jenn and I watch each night as we catch up on all six seasons. Beyond our 42 minutes a night, no TV news, no channel-surfing for sports (this included skipping the national cornhole championships, which is always riveting television), nothing. 

Next, no social media except catching up with friends on Facebook (for only a few minutes, however). No Twitter to find out what influencers are saying about COVID, the presidential race, social unrest. Nothing.  

In addition, no web sites except those essential for work. No reading my favorite columnists and bloggers. And again, no news. Finally? Limit email checking to twice a day. If a little envelope popped up on my screen, I closed the application so I wouldn’t be tempted. 

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Therefore, if something important took place last week, drop me an email and let me know. I don’t have a clue.

I’d love to tell you this fast came about from a “God moment” which challenged me to rethink all my priorities. But I would be lying. Truth is, I was skimming through a book from 2008, Tim Ferriss’ "The Four-Hour Work Week: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich."

First, a caveat. I wasn’t reading the book because I want to be “The New Rich.” And, I have no interest in cutting my work hours to nearly zero (I’m a writer, it can’t be done, anyway), or traveling the world just for the adventure. So, much of the book wasn’t for me. 

But there were ideas which captured my attention because I want to free my time for greater pursuits. One idea which struck me--The Media Fast.

Ferriss encourages his readers to be “selectively ignorant” regarding information, pointing out that most information is . . .

·       Time Consuming

·       Negative

·       Irrelevant to Our Goals

·       Outside of Our Influence

He’s right.

I have to admit, on some matters Ferriss goes farther than I. For instance, he doesn’t follow any political news (at least that’s what he says in the book). Instead, a couple of weeks before election day he emails a few trusted friends for information on their favorite candidate, then processes it and votes. This works for him, but it’s not my style.

But my tendency is toward over information. On politics, I scan the world-wide webisphere for the latest polling info, who made the latest gaffe, what issue is foremost in people’s minds at the moment—I could go on. 

Frankly, my quest for up-to-date news is too much. Almost all of what I digest is definitely time-consuming (and mind-consuming), largely negative, irrelevant to my mission for the day and not anything I can influence—unless I want to rethink my mission. 

So, for this one week I quit. I shut it all off. Well, almost. I “cheated” one time to check an election result. It took two minutes and I went back to blissful ignorance. Without the distraction of the latest information, I chatted up my neighbors more, hung out with our boys more, talked about bigger issues with the lovely Jennifer. In short, it was a great week. 

The result? Because my mind wasn’t caught up in the latest on COVID, social unrest, politics or even sports news, my thinking became almost clutter-free. I’m more focused, more creative, and more accomplished.

This isn’t to tell everyone to follow my lead. It’s more of an admission. I’m Kirk, and I am an information junkie. I had to face this head-on. For me information can be an encumbrance, holding me back from more important pursuits. 

I had to face the truth that, at the end of my days, God will not ask me, “Did you read enough blog posts about the 2020 election?” If I miss one or two, I’ll be fine. 

There’s a lesson here which applies to our pregnancy help community. It’s not that we must become ignorant to all going on around us. If we don’t pay any attention to the political landscape or social movements, we can quickly make ourselves irrelevant. 

We must know—and sometimes influence—legislation which affects us. And, we need to know what young people are talking about, thinking about. We need to understand what is moving them to action. 

Yet, we can’t allow these things to distract us from our mission. 

Which leads to a question, which each of our organizations will answer in different ways: What is it that distracts us from accomplishing all God has for us?

Tweet This: What is it that distracts us from accomplishing all God has for us?

Does our distraction come from “opportunities” presenting themselves which sound good but ease us away from our purpose? Are we distracted by creating fundraising events which our community enjoys but do not raise the funds needed to advance our mission? Is our encumbrance meetings which last too long and leave us weary? 

Whatever it might be, let’s find out if we have a distraction which slows us down. Once we find it, we may need to go “Cold Turkey” for a season so we can rid ourselves of the burden and get back on mission.

My fast is over. I’m free to watch more TV, check out any web site with the latest posts on today’s news, diving right back into a blitz of information. But in the last five days, I’ve spent maybe 10 minutes on my favorite news web sites. I’ve got better things to do.

As pregnancy help organizations, we’ve got eternal things to do. Let’s use our limited time well. If we have distractions, let’s get rid of ‘em. We won’t miss them, anyway.

 

Tweet This: Pregnancy help organizations have eternal things to do. Let’s use our limited time well, get rid of distractions. We won’t miss them, anyway

Kirk Walden

Kirk Walden is a senior writer with Pregnancy Help News, an Advancement Specialist with Heartbeat International and author of The Wall. For banquet speaking engagements, contact Gloria Leyda at Ambassador Speakers Bureau. His new Faith Revolution Podcast is online at www.kirkwalden.com

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