Clay Johnson regularly writes about the way we consume information at his blog InfoVegan, he’s kindly contributed to Lifehacker about the myth of the multi-monitor productivity boost and he’s currently working on a book called The Information Diet: A Case for Conscious Consumption. So when Johnson decided to offer a quick overview how an information diet can improve your productivity, we were extremely interested to hear his answer.
In answer to this question on Q&A web site Quora, Johnson delves into some of the problems inherent in a poor information diet (both from a physical and mental health perspective), then caps it off with what he’d consider a healthy information diet:
My information diet consists of a cap of six hours a day of total, proactive information consumption. That means everything that requires my explicit attention that doesn’t involve another person — television, movies, the Internet, email, social networks — if it involves a URL, a mouse or a remote control, that goes into that six hours. It doesn’t mean anything *physically social* or stuff I have no control over, like advertisements on the subway, or music in the supermarket.
Of that six hours, I spend two hours on entertainment and four hours on work-related research and communication. Sometimes that changes — on weekends, for instance, I spend the full six hours doing whatever the heck I want, as long as it’s not more than six hours. By capping it at six hours, it also forces me to do things like go for a long walk with my wife, or cooking a good dinner or _producing_ information. That’s been a heck of an improvement not only on my productivity, but in my marriage and on my overall health.
Johnson’s already convinced me that my information intake is completely out of whack, so I’m curious to hear what your information diet looks like. Let’s hear about it in the comments.