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On Filtering Inputs

February 21, 2015

It’s very important for your general health and well-being to watch for what you take in - both with the food that you feed your body as well as what goes into your head. Unfortunately, my dietary knowledge is basically non-existent, so I largely concentrate on filtering the inputs that go into my brain.

Firstly, I don’t watch television. It’s a passive medium and the huge number of channels available just creates an illusion of choice. There are a lot of ads that are virtually impossible to block and let’s be honest - the quality of the product offered is really low.

Secondly, I don’t follow news. The whole idea of daily news industry is to shock and interest the reader, even when nothing particularly noteworthy happened. I, on the other hand, am just trying to have a nice and calm day. See how those two objectives are mutually exclusive? So I stopped following any news - be it reading newspapers or internet portals. If any news piece is particularly big, I’ll hear about it from friends or people I follow on Twitter anyway.

Thirdly, I limit social media usage. They’re full of useless trivia that I don’t need to know, misleading clickbait videos that I don’t want to see and unhealthy social interactions. I like my social time to be face-to-face. The only exception is my carefully-curated Twitter feed that concentrates mainly on programming-related stuff. It’s similar with my RSS reader - I’m very critical on what goes in and usually read every single article in there.

The last strategy it to be more critical of the books you read. If it’s fiction and I’m not particularly impressed, I’ll stop midway through. If it’s non-fiction, I’ll just skip a few pages to see if it gets more interesting further along and sometimes it does. Otherwise, I’d just keep on skipping till the end. My current book backlog is much too long to be spending time on stuff that isn’t of much value to me.

All of the above has a really cool side effect - it helps save time to spend it on something I actually enjoy. Or something that I should be doing, but can’t get round to. If not for added mind-clearing benefits, it’s worth to revisit what we spend our time on. Is it really worth it or just a habit?

tl;dr You should pay attention to what you read and watch. Just do the healthy and valuable stuff, drop all the junk food.

Written by Wojciech Ogrodowczyk who takes photos, climbs mountains, and runs Brains & Beards to help companies deliver better mobile applications faster.

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