Information diet

We see the following common problems with information diets.

1) Compulsion loops

A compulsion loop is a chain of activities enjoyed by the user that causes them to continue the activity.

Nowadays there are effective technologies to create a virtually infinite stream of rewards for your brain.

Common sources:

  • Social media & video platforms that cause this behavior: Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, Netflix.

  • Video games

  • Email (it's more limited, but still can take several unplanned hours)

Our recommendation:

  • Remove related apps from your phone

    • Installing them only for special cases and deleting them soon after

  • Start noticing when you have a compulsion to check social media, communication, & entertainment apps when you get bored for a moment

  • Add friction to signing up to social media from your browser

    • Sign out after use and add 2-factor authentication so that you have to enter a code received from SMS every time you sign in

    • Use Chrome and install Chrome extensions that make it more difficult to sign in to the websites you select Examples:

  • Check your usage statistics regularly

    • iOS and Android have that as a default feature

    • On your desktop, you can install tools Rescue Time

  • Plan out time or circumstances under which you thoughtfully allow yourself to use entertainment apps (e.g. while brushing teeth, or while riding a car)

2) Interruptions from notifications

We recommend disabling all entertainment, social media, and messaging notifications on your phone except for SMS. Then, we recommend telling only select people that SMS is the only way you get notified.

3) Focus on negative news

As of 2020, most news websites seem to be monetized by advertisements and are often incentivized to shock you and make you go to their web pages. This means they often focus on negative news even though there are many boring positive developments happening around the world.

We recommend limiting the consumption of regular news as much as possible.

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