An Easy 3-Step System for Reclaiming Your Time from the News Cycle
Raise your hand if you’ve come up for air after a doomscrolling session only to discover that you forked over an hour of your time. Though this experience can seem like an unavoidable hazard of our noisy news cycle, relief is within reach. What you need is a system.
You can only absorb so much at once. That’s why it helps to be strategic about the information you consume, and when you consume it. One approach that I find useful involves three basic guidelines:
An objective. This is the thing you want to know. Maybe that’s a specific piece of information, like the latest election polling results or an update on the White House outbreak. Maybe it’s a high-level rundown of the latest developing news about Covid-19. Or maybe you want to dig into some meaty analysis of WTF it all means, big picture. Pick one concrete objective and go straight to a trusted news source to address it directly. (It probably doesn’t need to be said but, no, Facebook and Twitter don’t count.)
A time frame. Carve out a window of time to gather your information. Five to 10 minutes should suffice. If you have your sights set on a longread, you can budget yourself more time as needed, but be realistic and firm.
A tool to keep you on track (optional). If you, like me, are hopelessly prone to losing track of time, it might be worth bringing in reinforcements to keep you honest. Some people swear by setting timers to get things done within an allotted time frame. But some of us (hi) need a more hardcore intervention. I’ve taken a page from the Morgan Jerkins playbook of productivity and use the SelfControl app, which blocks your access to a custom “blacklist” of distracting sites for a specific amount of time. (Sorry, Twitter—it isn’t personal, I swear.)
This system makes it easier to get the information you need without getting buried in the fray. You deserve a break from fray. Give it a try, and enjoy the gift of reclaimed time.