One of my favorite bloggers of all time is Merlin Mann and his 43 Folders site. It’s about life hacking and simple ways to increase your productivity. Merlin has got a feature going for the new year called Modest Changes, which is about little things that we can all do to relieve the overwhelming stress and strain of modern life. His first proposed ‘Modest Change’ is to Cancel Something.
We all do it. We allow things into our lives that interest us, but then we allow too much of it in. Here’s a list from Merlin of some of those things…
- RSS feeds (Oh Lord, RSS feeds)
- net-based mailing lists
- Broadband (or broader band) net access
- Cable/Satellite TV
- Magazine and newspaper subscriptions
- Anything of the Month Club
- those multi-person online games you kids like so damned much
- always-on tech (like Blackberries)
While we’ve invited these things in, the fact is that they also constantly require our attention. We feel obligated to consume them, especially if we’ve paid for them.
If you were going to cancel one of those things, what would it be? Would you unsubscribe from a few RSS feeds? Cancel cable for a month? Get rid of a newspaper or magazine subscription? Cut down your Tivo or Netflix list?
As Merlin says, the point is to find at least one thing that’s taking your attention or time, however brief it may be, and be rid of it. Mindfully choose to turn one thing off and take back a little scrap of time for yourself.
Come on…try it! What have you got to lose?