Days 365+54 NewspaperI’ve finished my “news fast” – week without newspapers, e-news, radio*, or TV (well, not no news but only indirect news gained from other’s comments). When I reconnected with the world I learned that I missed the birth of the royal baby, that Edward Snowden was still holed up in the Moscow airport, and that there was still unrest in Egypt, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the US Congress was still stalemated on almost every issue.


  1. It was an easy week: Since I was at a conference for most of one week and hosting our 4-year-old granddaughter the next, this probably wasn’t a true test. I had very little discretionary time during which I would normally read the paper or listen to news. Instead I tried to address issues like how to strengthen marriages, reform our Church, and persuade a 4-year-old that broccoli was tasty and that too many s’mores were not.
  2. What I didn’t miss: Perhaps this was a slow news week but there did not seem to be any late breaking, earth shattering news that I missed. The troubles of the world continued without me knowing the “latest.” Another random week might have been very different – but then someone would have probably alerted me to pay attention.
  3. What I missed was the news analysis that I usually get from NPR, the NYT, and Charlie Rose.
  4. Days 365+42 @ signE-mail: I didn’t miss the interminable email “news” flashes (usually political) asking me to support this cause or that and peppered with requests to support a worthy cause with a donation. By the time the week was over, the urgent Senate vote or “Walk for ??” had passed and it was too late. This gave me a guilt free pass to delete a bunch of emails even though I agreed with the cause.
  5. Days 365 + FacebookFacebook/LinkedIn/Twitter: Although I have a limited connection with these social media, I do occasionally pick up helpful information like links to short inspirational articles or YouTube videos. I also appreciate seeing photos of our kids’ latest exploits or clever remarks. I don’t know if I missed anything important here since it was probably buried by birthday wishes, changing FB profile pictures, and other’s vacation photos. A lot of people wanted to link to, endorse, tweet, or friend me. I’ll never know about those who don’t. It doesn’t impact my life much.
  6. The Weather: Although I don’t have any control over the weather, knowing generally what it will be like, helped us plan when to do the campout with our granddaughter or what kind of clothes to take on my trip. I think checking the weather is a worthy use of news.
  7. Habits: I typically listen to radio news when dressing or in the car. I read the newspaper while eating breakfast or waiting for appointments. I listen to a bit of Charlie Rose at bedtime. When I returned from my conference, I found myself ready to automatically resume some of those habits. It took some self-discipline to continue the “fast.” I wondered what I was missing, but then the urge passed and I realized I was still alive and hadn’t suffered unduly, and indeed got a little more sleep.
  8. nothingSilence: By not turning on the radio or TV, I had a little more silence. This was good. I needed it as a respite from the barrage of “Why do insects bite us? Why can’t I have another story? Why do I have to go to bed?” questions. It was hard enough to find a quiet time for prayer and reflection when traveling or when arranging my schedule around someone else’s needs. These snippets of silence became a refreshing prayer time for me.
  9. What I’ll keep: I think I’ll keep most of the media I interact with since I learn about important developments in my work, the world, and family. I already limit my FB, Twitter, and LinkedIn time to a few minutes a day.
  10. What I’m not sure of or have decided to change:
  • Days 365+31 gmailGmail has just changed its format again (aarrgh!) but this time it’s a help. It now separates out Social and Promotional emails from my primary ones. I think this will help me pay attention to what’s important for work and separate all those solicitations and pleas to contact Congress or give money. (The only problem is that it counts my weekly Marriage Moments and Parenting Pointers as “Social” so I have to go looking for them.)
  • I’ve dropped one national newspaper and plan to drop two magazines that I rarely have time for.
  • Days 365 + TwitterI will stop obsessing about how few Twitter followers I have. Most of what I want to say or know can’t be said in 140 characters anyway. Some of the links are helpful though.
  • I’m still not sure about whether or not to get a Smart Phone. I don’t know if that would simplify my communication/info needs or just make me more of a slave to knowing more and knowing it more quickly.
  • I’m not sure about whether to keep scanning several news digests that I get online. The advantage is that they collect a lot of news on issues that concern me, but it takes time even to scan these.
  • Days 336 Extra - Silly catI will try to have more humor in my life by watching my favorite comedy show and seeing the irony in knowing the latest but not knowing it’s relative importance.
  • Once I know a news event, I will limit how closely I follow all the developing side stories. I don’t really need to know about Anthony Weiner or Eliot Spitzer’s latest dalliance, only that I wouldn’t vote for either.
  • I’ll pray first thing in the morning rather than waiting till I have some time. The “time” seems to slip slide away before I realize it. Whoops, better do that right now.

*Disclosure: I did listen to NPR while on a long drive – to keep me awake of course. 😕

How have you tamed the news and TMI in your life? Pass on your best strategies here.