Prompted by articles on the compounding effects of daily activity, intentionally low information consumption, and the value of hard focus, I've decided to spend a week abstaining from as much unnecessary information as I can.
Between Google Reader, the Times, Reddit, Facebook, and checking email all day long, I'm pretty sure I piss away at least an hour or two a day on what I call "mental masturbation"– articles thought-provoking enough to make you feel smart and productive, but ultimately too short, shallow, and out-of-context to build real knowledge or add real value to your day. Whether it's the latest civil rights outrage on The Agitator, a new list of productivity tools at Lifehacker, Gruber's speculative Apple fanboyism, or one of the million excellent tumblogs out there, the bite-sized infotainment chunks never stop. Some are better than others, to be sure, but they're all attention leeches that suck away precious productivity unless strictly relegated to the space reserved for TV, pleasure reading, and other entertainment.
Until this time next Monday, I will not check any blogs, news sites, aggregators, or forums. I will check email twice a day, no more. The iPhone stays off during the school day, and becomes a normal phone for the week. TV and books are okay, as long as they're fiction and purely for pleasure. Blogging is allowed only if it's completely original; no reposting.
I'm hoping this makes me more productive, more conscious of when I'm focused on the task at hand, and generally more present in the moment and the people around me. We'll see how it works out next Monday.