How Much News Is Too Much News?

I have always prided myself on being someone who does not need to delete apps. You know, someone who deletes Twitter or Instagram every few months so they can avoid getting lost in that and instead focus on creating something. I am lucky enough that I can put limits on those things—or at least I thought I could. It turns out that the news can be my undoing.

The year 2020 has been a doozy. Getting lost in the news is a lot easier this year than in years past, and I am spending too much time on it. Keeping informed is good. Reading different versions of the same story repeatedly is nothing more than a fancy bit of procrastination. When I was growing up, the news was contained for us. It came on in the evening and lasted about 30 minutes. With 24-hour news channels and so many websites, now the news can get crammed down your throat like Homer Simpson’s donuts. This is bad for several reasons:

  • It takes a lot of time. I need to make a living and support my family. Excessive time with the news gets in the way of that.

  • It closes my mind. With the way modern algorithms work, once I read one story, the computers decide what kind of news I like and try to feed me more of that. The longer I go, the more biased and extreme the feed gets.

  • It wipes me out. This year. This year. Do I need to explain how reading too much news drains me of the will and energy to do anything productive?

So, I am taking steps. I am rerunning my timers, this time with the idea of putting a 30-minute box around the news every day. Once I hit 30 minutes, I am done. Rather than get lost in the news, I would rather use that time for something else. Maybe I can spend a bit of it trying to make things better.