Cody R. DeHaan

Reduce Inputs

Many of us have been spending more time at home over the past year, and yet this time has also brought about a flavor of exhaustion. The world feels increasingly out of control, and I’ve found that I have allowed a lot more noise into my life than I realize.

It’s easy to get swept away reading about the latest COVID numbers, the political upheaval menacing the nation, or today’s economic frenzy. And sometimes when this gets to be too much, then I switch over to something else, like Instagram or Twitter.

The details may differ for you, but I suspect you’ve experienced this. Some have called it doomscrolling or social media addiction, but I find it more useful to think about all of these things as inputs I’m allowing in my life. This is the stream of information that I consume, allow to influence me, and to take my time.

Some of these inputs help me stay informed and engaged, but there are quickly diminishing returns. The conditions of the past year have made it even easier to allow in low-quality inputs that add to that feeling of being swept away.

I think this is reason people find cutting social media out of their lives can be rather liberating: it’s one way to give you a bit more control over your thoughts and attention.

So I’ve been working to reduce the inputs I allow in. I’m aiming to cultivate a greater sense of intentionality with the things I pay attention to and a clearer focus in how I spend my time.

Drastic changes aren’t necessary, but on days that I silence my phone, check my email less often, and read the headlines only once or twice, I find it much easier to be focused and clear.

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