Brain dump and reading focus

I think I’m loosing my ability to read for long periods of time. By long I mean more than 20-30 minutes. I was really good at sitting down to read for a whole hour, without interruptions. I started to feel something was off last year, during the pandemic. That initial overload of anxiousness made me search for news. I’ve never been a news person. I can’t stand regular TV or cable TV. I abhor advertising, I think they are annoying and with the Internet they became even more normalized. Heck, most of Internet today is ad-based.

So for the past months I got back into the habit of checking news sites. Doing that once a week for half an hour is okay, I guess. But all the sites have this “addictive” social media component that triggers this need to check them ALL THE TIME.

I’ve been checking the news everyday now. I think I was okay during the holidays, but 2021 started with some dystopian things happening!! What the hell is going on??

I’ve already removed many sources of distraction from my life but there is this lingering effect that refuses to go away.

I feel like I’ve been unwillingly addicted to something, some weird urge to check endless feeds. An urge that never really goes away because everywhere we go, everywhere we look, the trigger is there. It’s hard to run away or to look away.

Now, back to reading: my ability to focus has deteriorated. I want to get it back to where it was. And the only way I know how to do that is to re-train my focus. Be bored. Get comfortable being bored. Being content with not knowing. Stop scrolling. Having less shinny screens around me. I carry my e-reader with me all the time but lately my phone has been my go-to knee-jerk reaction.

Even though I’m fully aware of digital distractions traps I still fall for them. There are traps everywhere! It seems like the whole Internet today is a blob of social media with infinite scroll. I will add a little bit more mindfulness to my days. It has always helped.

So, I'll unsubscribe from a daily “news” newsletter I used to read in the morning. It was my only source of news throughout the day but I noticed it triggered the urge to open up news sites to get more info. And once I did, I kept going from site to site and my anxiety skyrocketed.

I'll stay away from YouTube for a while. If I'm going to watch something it has to be a good series or a documentary. Long form stuff. Not the easy and fun 5-8 minutes videos. Nowadays most of them are short, even the good quality ones about science that I love. I believe that being exposed to short videos for too long also changes my perception of time. I notice that I can spend 1 hour watching short videos but I if I see a documentary that is 1 hour long I tend to skip it “because I don't have the time”.

In summary:

#noisymusings #distraction #reading


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.