My iPhone spontaneously and faithfully tells me every week how much time I have spent on screen time. This metric tracks my phone use, similar to metrics like daily calorie intake, monthly spending, etc. The idea is that what you focus on, improves.
I must admit that I’m somewhat confused what to do with this information: For example, is two hours a day of screen time good, bad or indifferent? I realized that ‘screen time’ is not really actionable and helpful information.
This made me think about information in general, in view of my overall obsession with high performance.
Let met therefore share with you my rules about information intake, which have served me well in the past few years.
- Useful information is either actionable, or uplifting.
- Actionable means it can be applied to improve your condition, or the condition of others. For example, applying ideas from this newsletter will help you to become more productive.
- Uplifting means it leaves you in a happier, more energetic or more relaxed state. We can all relate to the feeling of reading a great book or watching a stunning movie.
- All else is just noise.
If you critically review your daily information intake with these principles in mind, you will probably find opportunities to cut back on noise. For example, if you read and watch the daily news, but it isn’t actionable and drains your energy, perhaps it’s best to change your information intake habits. You may read a good book instead.
High performance is not about adding stuff to our lives: It’s about chipping away everything which prevents us from being our best.
Screen time is therefore not a metric: It’s simply a trigger to get serious about cutting away noise from my life.