Smart, educated people tend to avoid junk food. They tend to be thinner and have better diets because they’re simply more aware of the downsides of eating crap, including the negative effect it has on productivity.
It should be the same for junk information.
This includes not just television shows and entertainment news, but more stealthy forms of trash as well.
Don’t be confused. Reddit is full of excellent content, but it should be used very infrequently, and should be treated like a bag of chips.
Is there nothing else to eat?
Are you done reading all the classics? Oh, you finished your reading list? You’ve written that book you’re working on? You’re just plain finished with all your productive work?
Great. Go get some Reddit.
If you’re not done consuming the best content the world has to offer, however, like all the various books you heard about on Reddit, then reading more Reddit is like opening bag after bag of Doritos.
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You’re not getting shit out of it. It’s a waste.
Yes, it feels great to read about some new research about so and so, or hear some crazy story about x or y–but it doesn’t lead to you being more intelligent or more productive.
In fact–just like junk food–it does precisely the opposite. It hinders you. It pulls you in and asks that you consume more.
Treat junk information the way you treat junk food. Realize that it’s crap that tastes good, and consume it sparingly. Monitor your consumption and ensure that you never trick yourself into believing it’s good for you.
There is real content out there, like Daniel Kahneman’s book, or Steven Pinker’s latest. Focus on that stuff, not the firehose of empty calories that is Reddit and similar sources.