I finished reading the wonderful book The Four Hour Workweek not too long ago.
Nearly everything in the book is divided into one of three categories: time management, how to own a business without it owning you, and how to make the first two things lead into traveling or doing whatever it is you enjoy doing in life.
Some of the time management stuff was just common sense, but it also included some parts that are a different way of looking at things. One such section was the part about "The Low Information Diet." The basic idea is don't read, watch, listen to, or otherwise consume information unless it is really important or something you can take action on in the near future. There are some very clear cut steps to reducing the biggest attention stealer in the modern office environment: email. The author suggests cutting down to checking only twice a day, then once a day, and then cut back as far as you can without causing major trouble. A note from personal experience here: if you're going to try this at work, let your boss know BEFORE you cut back on your email. And also let anyone who this may impact know that this will only be on a trial basis.
A couple nights ago, I got a wonderful taste of how it feels to be on the low information diet. After I get home I normally eat supper, go for a walk, and then read all my RSS feeds, email, and then work on my computer. That night, I came home, went for a walk, played video games a bit, watched a movie with my wife and then realized it was a bit past 11 PM. Normally, I go to bed between 11 and midnight. I was tempted to head to the computer to check my email and see if I had any new news in my RSS reader. I decided to just head for bed.
I woke up feeling oddly wonderful.
I'm not talking about the "I got 15 minutes more sleep than I usually do" wonderful. It was more like "I slept better than I have in weeks" wonderful. It's really strange being a computer geek and feeling that good about *NOT* using the computer in the evening. I wonder why that happened? Less junk floating around in my head right before bed maybe? I'll have to try to duplicate that experience more often.
And now for the irony of this blog post: it is 11:27 PM (Eastern Time), I've got to go to work tomorrow and I'm blogging. Good night everyone.