To Be More Productive, Tim Ferriss Suggests a Low-Information Diet

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Here's a radical idea: you know too much. Sure, some knowledge is important, but how much of what you "know" — which celebrities are breaking up, or the gaffe some politician made today — really has an impact on your life? As we learned from the Blinkist summary of Tim Ferriss' bestseller, "The 4-Hour Workweek," being productive requires massive output, and that requires reducing your input. That's why he recommends going on a low-information diet.

Information Obesity

Most information, says Ferriss, is time-consuming, negative, unimportant for your goals, and not something you can do anything about. The word "diet" isn't a mistake — just like food, most people consume too much information, and most of it of low quality. From TV news to social media, how much of what you took in today was truly important for your life?

The idea of reducing the amount of information you take in might fill you with dread. If you don't know what's going on in the world, how will you participate in society? How will you make good decisions? How will you chat with your Uber driver? (For that last one, Ferriss's answer is simple. Just ask, "Tell me, what's new in the world?") But all that time you don't spend taking in useless information can be spent doing things of real value, like spending time with loved ones and working toward your goals.

Cut Your Calories

To start your information diet, Ferriss recommends going cold turkey. For a full five days, avoid all newspapers, TV, news websites, and web surfing, aside from no more than 5 minutes checking the news at lunch, an hour of TV for pleasure in the evening, and an hour of reading fiction before bed.

For the information you do need, be ruthlessly efficient. Learn to speed read, and try asking experts your questions instead of researching the answers yourself. Try the diet and see how it affects your life. You might not miss all those empty information calories at the end of the day.

You can read Tim Ferriss's book "The 4-Hour Workweek" and be ruthlessly efficient in the process with Blinkist. It's a platform that digests the best nonfiction books into quick, 15-minute reads to help you absorb the most important information in a fraction of the time it would take to read the whole thing. They have audio versions, too.

If you'd like to start learning with Blinkist, click through to the special Curiosity landing page and get three months of Blinkist for free!

The Science of Productivity

Written by Ashley Hamer January 30, 2018
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