Decreased Input

Increased output necessitates decreased input.

Tim Ferriss, The 4-Hour Workweek

The paradox of the Internet is that - from one moment to the next - it is either an incredible force multiplier for our aspirations or an outsized drain on our potential. It is either a catapult or a two hundred pound weight vest.

Important to remember that we are entirely in control of whether it becomes the former or the latter. Here are three questions to ask yourself in pursuit of better getting at the nutrients of this unwieldy beast:

  1. Why am I using this app, reading this site, or getting this email? 
    Intention is the mother of all progress. When you relinquish the power acting with intention affords us, you too quickly grab for the empty calories of distraction. Occasional distraction is okay, as long as it’s on purpose. More often than not, though, it’d be a lot better to just take a few deep breaths & get back to work. 

  2. Who’s schedule am I on? 
    If you don’t take control of your time, other people happily will. Check Reddit, watch the news, & dive into your email, but do it when it’s advantageous to you, not them. Creating a daily schedule for yourself is the single most effective prophylactic against a surge of the unnecessary & nonessential.

  3. Is someone else a better filter than I am?
    The Internet is a minefield of rabbit-holes. Let other people do the diving, the filtering, & the distillation. Find a few sources you trust on a subject you care about & let them go deep on it. Pay attention to what they’re learning & teaching. Ask them questions, take their courses, & read their books. Happily ignore everybody else.

The Internet is a beautiful place, but it’s a terrible babysitter. Recognize that you’re the one in charge of what’s in your feed & on your phone, & that passivity is a pretty terrible strategy.

Patrick Cummings