Build Systems for Consumption

How do you maintain a high-quality information diet? 📰

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Occasionally, I also send out long-form articles on digital fitness and self-improvement.


I. “Your own thoughts are your greatest source of distraction. In the absence of screens, your thoughts pull you from the moment, blinding you from the life that’s lived out before you.”

Being left alone with your thoughts is slightly terrifying.

My biggest problem is staying out of my own head. It’s amazing how quickly my own agenda floods my thoughts when all I want is to think about nothing and notice everything.

I can’t help but wonder if dealing with your own inner chatter isn’t the next step after you’ve removed the external chatter. 🤔


I. “Navigate by resistance, what you’re most meant to do will be met with an ever-increasing amount of resistance. Lean into it, use it as a compass for where you're meant to go.” - Steven Pressfield, The War of Art


I. Build Systems for Consumption

The amount of information available is paralyzing.

You feel the weight of that statement every time you log into Slack, Twitter, or even email. Instantly, you’re rushed and overwhelmed by information.

By default, the signal to noise ratio is extremely low but you can change that.

You have to become intentional about your consumption.

Reduce the noise. Unfollow, unsubscribe, and even deactivate social media platforms. Avoid the any-benefit method of tool selection and instead, opt to use the platforms that substantially benefit your life.

Shorten your “Check-in” Cycle. Next time you unlock your phone or open a new tab in a web browser, what does your muscle memory do? I check Email > Twitter > LinkedIn > Slack. When I need more mental space I short-circuit this cycle by deleting apps and signing out of platforms. Making them just slightly inconvenient to check is enough to remove them from the loop.

Consume with intention. What’s dangerous about the “Check-in” cycle is getting sucked into endless scrolling and unintentionally wasting time. Become intentional by deciding upfront how much time you want to spend on the platform while tracking your overall usage. For that, I recommend Intention - Stop Mindless Browsing Google Chrome extension, but any time tracking extension will do.

Email is the ingress. Email is a great ingress (entry point) because most applications support email notifications. I’ve begun using this to notify me when to check Slack. Instead of mindlessly scrolling Slack every 5 minutes, I check email and if I have a notification then I’ll open slack.

Capture what captivates. Platforms make money off your attention. It is in their interest to keep you logged in and scrolling by any means necessary. As a result, the platforms themselves are not designed to optimize learning. They lack the features that you need to store, organize, and unbox ideas. That’s why I use Readwise and Pocket to store and organize the content that captivates me.

Until next time,

Josh Duffney
Currently Writing ✍️: Reclaim

🎤 Podcast Appearance: The Developer Weekly Episode #34