Turning off from internet
I had been doing a few MOOC courses in the past few weeks. Given the fact that I have to juggle between family, work, commute and the courses, I decided to put some breaks on the information intake.
I turned myself off from email, news etc (well, not completely but perhaps ~90%) in the past few weeks by unsubscribing from mailing lists and also by closing browser tabs that I am unlikely to read or benefit from in short term. I consistently kept number of open tabs in the browser to <= 5. I also installed browser plugins to warn myself and block twitter/hackernews etc after 10 minutes of usage per day from 6 AM to 10 PM. (I didn’t put restrictions after 10pm). Overall my information intake was much less.
The result is that I was much happy and got a lot of things done which made me even more happy. I didn’t miss anything (that would have helped me). I had a lot of withdrawal symptoms initially when I unsubscribed from some of the mailing lists which I had been reading for the past ~4 years. But I really didn’t miss anything at all that is of immediate use to me.
I felt a big void when the course ended. For a day or two, I didn’t know what to do with the new found free time. But after that I quickly filled it with trivia. But I learnt a bit from those intense periods of learning. I now have closed down all those pdfs and tabs that I had open and am getting back to work. I had temptations to re-join mailing lists. But I deliberately decided not to do so.
Working on something every day and getting into the “flow” helped me greatly in getting something done and contributing to some happiness. There are many sources of unhappiness in my life which I cannot do much about. But there are a handful that I can do something about, I felt working on some interesting and mind-bending problem certainly was worth it.