Staying informed can be a pain. You’ve got a lot on your plate already, and you still have to fit in reading the news – every day. Let’s be honest: Sometimes, it really sucks.
In those moments, you wish there were a way to just skip it, to stop all the hassle and waste of time while still, through some sort of miracle, staying informed.
Well, you can’t stay up-to-date without investing any time at all, but you surely can reduce your newspaper-reading time by at least 90%.
First, decide what kinds of news are important to you. Do you really need to know about every murder in your country? Every bad accident? Unless you’re going to do something about it, there isn’t really a point. Our guilty conscience likes to tell us that ignoring other people’s misfortune is egoistic; but seriously, we’re not helping anyone by reading about it.
I suggest you concentrate on only two kinds of news:
a) that you need for business purposes, and
b) that you want for conversation in your social circles.
2. Talk to People
Actually, you can skip most of the latter too. All it requires is some bravery.
Talk about recent events usually starts with a question like, “Have you heard about XYZ?”. Our fear of being forced to answer that question with “no” and thereby admit that we are ignorant, uninformed, uneducated, lazy, and — let’s face it — downright stupid, is a major motivator to read the news like a madman. Fortunately, I have an elaborate solution to this problem:
Just say “No”.
This is what I meant when I said that some bravery was required. Don’t be ashamed. What you are showing is that you don’t do something just because everyone says you should and that you are using your productive energy to do more than absorbing useless information.
Here’s what I usually say (and believe me, this happens a lot to me):
“No, I haven’t had a chance to read the news lately. Can you give me an update?”
“Yes, I heard about it but haven’t had time to get the details yet. Could you fill me in?”
And with this, you can still have a conversation about the latest news, but you didn’t have to spend hours poring over the paper. Plus, your conversational partner will probably feel good about helping you out.
Admitted, if you never know anything at all, you will at some point most likely be perceived as … well … ignorant. That’s why you should still read at least some news. But, an average of two minutes a day is generally enough if you apply a few smart techniques. Techniques that I’ll cover in the second part of this series.