Author, Speaker, Addiction & Relinquishment Consultant, Relinquishee, Adoptee, MPE

Opting Out of Useless Information

Controlling your subscriptions to weed out those publications that you don’t like and don’t read will help to weed out the useless information you receive.  Focus your subscriptions and reading on publications that fit into one of the four following categories: periodicals that make you think, periodicals that give you information you can readily access anywhere else, periodicals that contribute to your business life, and periodicals that make you laugh.

At this time of the year, when my mailbox is overstuffed with catalogs that I didn’t ask for (and that go directly from my letterbox to the recycling bin) , I’m reminded of the Seinfeld episode where Kramer gets deluged with unsolicited and unwanted catalogs and “wants out” of mail.


Courtesy of Wikipedia

Although I often wonder why I need mail in today’s day and age, I’m not opting out of mail anytime soon. I am, however, taking the time to reconsider the amount and types of digital and print media that I consume. I’m controlling my subscriptions.

When I say “controlling” subscriptions, I know it sounds like I’m going to advocate that you should only have one subscription, or something. Maybe I’m going to say you should save your money, save your time, save the trees.

I’m all for saving trees, and money should be spent wisely, as should time. But I think by reading the right magazines, and reading them in the right ways, we make our lives richer and deeper.

What I mean by controlling your subscriptions is to weed out those publications you don’t like and don’t read, or the ones that make you so angry every time you read them that you don’t know why you even bother. Cancel your subscription, or keep the subscription and donate those magazines to a school or library. Most high schools especially like news magazines.

Focus your subscriptions, and your reading, on publications that fit one of the following four categories:

1. Periodicals that make you think. There are many magazines that could fit this category, from your traditional news magazines to more general interest publications like The New Yorker or Harper’s, political magazines like The Nation or The New Republic, and of course those “thinking” magazines like Scientific American and Mental Floss.

2. Periodicals that give you information you can’t readily get somewhere else. This may include professional journals, online journals, ezines, and scholarly journals. It could also include cooking magazines or specialty magazines like Runner’s World.

3. Periodicals that contribute to your business life. This could include the major magazines like Business Week, of course, and Fast Company. It could also include more specialized magazines like ColoradoBiz, Eweek and other “controlled circulation” magazines, and regional publications like Arkansas Business.

4. Periodicals that make you laugh. The obvious in this category, of course, is MAD, but I was actually thinking of The New Yorker because the cartoons are sometimes very humorous. Of course, they’re not as humorous as MAD, but you can show them to polite company. Frankly, what makes you laugh may not be what makes you laugh. I love to read The Onion online, because I really enjoy satire, though I’m not so good at writing it. You may not get The Onion. More likely, you may get it and not think it’s funny.

That’s what is so great about our culture and our lives. We can subscribe to magazines and newspapers, and read blogs and web sites, that fit who we are. We can truly be ourselves in our reading. And I think when we do that, we find out even more about where we’re really going, based on our reactions to what we read.

How can you make your reading, especially of periodicals (online and off) more reflective of who you are?

  • Look at what you currently consume, on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
  • What do you enjoy? What do you really not like?
  • This week, cancel one subscription you don’t enjoy very much and replace it with something you love.

Thanks to Life Balanced for including this post in the Balance Your Life Carnival.

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