Saturday, 9 June 2012

Information Diet

I'm currently reading The Information Diet by Clay Johnson, an interesting book that argues that we should regulate our information intake in the same way that we regulate our diet. Your health suffers if you eat junk food. Johnson argues that your health also suffers if you read junk information sources.

Like I said, it's an interesting read, and has already inspired me to make some changes. I haven't opened Google Reader or Twitter for a couple of days now, and feel all the better for it. Most importantly, I have changed the configuration of my Galaxy Nexus so that I don't have instant access to information sources that can distract me.

Previously, my home screen looked like this:


I had everything organized into groups, so that all the common applications I used were at most two touches away.

My new home screen looks like this:


I have removed easy access to anything that I can use as an information source so that I don't habitually open a browser or Google Reader, or Twitter etc in an idle moment. When I consume information, I want to make a conscious effort to do so.

The Launcher replacement I used for this was Nova Launcher Prime. This has some nifty features, such as being able to create folders in the application drawer, and hide applications. My application drawer now looks like this:


Everything is nice and clean, I don't need to swipe through multiple drawers to find an application. So when I make the conscious decision to consume information, I can do so in 3 touches, rather than 2.

It may not seem like a big difference, but it has certainly made a difference to me. A few times now I have found myself mindlessly opening up my phone, and been halted by the new layout. That extra level of indirection is enough to help me to develop a new information consumption habit.

Let's see if it lasts!