Are you a news junkie? Do you have a long list of sites that you visit every day to get your fix? Are you more attached to your newsreader than you are to your own pets? You may have a problem, but you´re not alone. I´m an unabashed junkie, too. I check out at least a dozen different sites every morning before I even think about getting going and I have two different newsreaders which I rely on to scour dozens of sites for me. I am, obviously, a very big believer in keeping up on the latest news in a wide range of topics. My readers are full of sites I use for my work, and sites that fulfill my interests and curiosities. The constant acquisition of new information and viewpoints is key to my creativity and inspiration.
That being said, reading all that information can be a huge time vacuum. On days when there is a lot going on in the world, and when I am not being particularly self-disciplined, I can suddenly find that several hours have elapsed with nothing but knowledge to show for them. Sadly, knowledge doesn´t directly pay the mortgage. There are a few key steps, then, that you need to take if you are a news junkie to keep your habit under control:
1) Cull your list — I have learned to become very ruthless about the sites I continue to visit. It´s easy to get into the habit o going to a site just because you always go to the site. If a site hasn´t added information of value for a while, you should stop going to it. Cut it from your newsreader, remove it from your routine and move on. If you really miss it, you can always go back to it, but chances are you´ll forget you ever went to it.
2) Question yourself — Every time you add a website to your routine, ask yourself why you are doing it? If you can´t come up with a good reason to start reading the site, and if you can´t determine an eventual benefit of the effort you are spending reading, then don´t start reading it. It´s easier to break a habit before it starts.
3) Avoid wandering — Scanning through several sites doesn´t have to take very long. Where the time really begins to disappear, though, is when you start following links. One article leads to another article, which leads to a Google search and then three more articles to read and a forum to post on, and suddenly you have killed a bunch of time.