Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

TMI (Too Much Information): 4 Ways to Clear the Mind Clutter

posted by Beyond Blue

During this hiatus from the online world, I realized that all the information I force feed myself during a normal workday is as unhealthy for me as fast food.
Now that I’m back to my desk, I don’t want to go back to my old habits of processing everything that appears on my screen. I want to take back some control over this information overload so that I’m not sorting data from the many newsletters to which I subscribe while making cookies with the kids and growing impatient as I check my e-mail while supervising David’s homework.
How can I keep the mind clutter as manageable as possible? I’m trying these techniques:
1. Unsubscribe, or just don’t check my mailbox.
Do I really need to read the 402 most e-mailed articles of the New York Times? The entire New England Journal of Medicine? The top health stories of NO. I don’t. I need to read the crime beat of the Annapolis Capital to make sure it’s safe to play at the neighborhood park. And I need to review a few health newsletters from Johns Hopkins and mental health blogs/sites for Beyond Blue. If I have time I’ll read everyone’s opinion on Obama and McCain. But only if I have time.
2. Stop checking my e-mail like it’s a slot machine.
I’m addicted. Boy do I know that now. But I can’t say good-bye forever to this way of communication or else I will lose all of my writing jobs. So I am going to limit my access to e-mail to only those hours in which I am working. If I’m not working, the computer is off, and in the bag. Maybe even in my bedroom closet, where I hid it for the 19 days I withdrew from the addiction.
3. Set boundaries.
In order to protect my personal time and time with my family, I plan on shutting down at 6 pm every night and putting the computer away. Ditto goes for the weekends. After all, weekends (and especially Sunday) were intended for rest. It says so in the Book of Genesis.
4. Quantify my time and energy.
I’ll often read an interesting story because I stumbled upon it while doing some research that is completely unrelated to the story. The unrelated piece leads me to another article, which is even more interesting, and before I know it, I have wasted a half-hour of working time, which will be docked from my sleep. However, if I consider my time and energy as a precious commodity, and quantify exactly how many minutes I have to work, then I can better resist the urge to read boring junk and really interesting junk that have nothing to do with the piece I need to finish.
To read more Beyond Blue, go to, and to get to Group Beyond Blue, a support group at Beliefnet Community, click here.

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posted September 9, 2008 at 10:10 am

Therese, it sounds like you learned a lot during your 19 days away from the computer. I’ll be brief — I’m happy for you, for what you’ve learned, and put into effect, so that you can be the best wife and mother and person you can be! Love, R.

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posted September 9, 2008 at 10:39 am

I love this. My husband and I discovered this by accident on a vacation when I was pregnant with my second child. We pulled up to our fabulous vacation spot two years ago when I was pregnant with our 2nd child. Our “cabin” (trailer) that we had rented in the Cache La Poudre area of the Rockies was so remote that our cell phones didn’t work. I was so stressed and in such high demand at work at that time, I burst out in tears of joy! We didn’t own laptops at the time either – so it was the first year of our annual “Unplug” week-long vacation!

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posted September 9, 2008 at 10:42 am

I love this. My husband and I discovered this beauty by accident on a trip to a remote cabin in the Rockies. At the time we didn’t own laptops and we realized our cell phones didn’t work when we arrived. I was 4 months pregnant, in a high stress job and so in demand. I burst into tears and, thus, began our annual “Unplug” vacation ever since!

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Larry Parker

posted September 9, 2008 at 11:00 am

You’re a better woman than I am … a man, I mean ;-P

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posted September 9, 2008 at 12:12 pm

Way to go, Therese!

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Annapurna Moffatt

posted September 9, 2008 at 12:34 pm

I love the first tip–I think we could all use it. I subscribe to a couple too many enewsletters–but they’re all so wonderful! Some of them (like the ones from Greenpeace) are important because I want to stay up-to-date on what’s happening with regards to the environment and global warming (I’m deeply concerned about that issue), but I plan to drop the NY Times Politics enewsletter after the election is over.

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posted September 10, 2008 at 12:04 am

It’s called getting a life, right?

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posted September 10, 2008 at 1:50 am

I so need to follow this advice. I really have a problem with wanting to be on lists. It will take awhile, but I can improve on this. Thanks for discussing it.

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posted September 10, 2008 at 2:58 am

I got overloaded with information from the comparative religious inspiration at Beliefnet. I also subscribe to several environmental and human rights newsletters. It gets difficult to maintain such important data on the internet when I’m taking distance courses at a university. When I read articles, I stick to Reiki magazines, Men’s Vogue (fascinating stuff – Tony Blair, anyone?), Reader’s Digest, psychology, sex, and interviews with Woody Allen. Tony Blair and Woody Allen standing next to each other just sound atonal to me.
P.S. Theresa, I love your articles.

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posted September 10, 2008 at 5:41 pm

Really,,,do we need all this information…negative that is. I unsubscribed from the newspaper. The only thing I read was the want adds and the circulars. So now I keep it down to the Sunday paper. Beside the cost was quite high. There is too much negativity in the world…..If you don’t hear it, you don’t dwell on it. I also used to listen to the news….no longer. I read alot of spiritual books instead. I try to focus on the positive

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posted September 12, 2008 at 5:55 pm

Thank you so much Therese. I needed this today.
While I’m not on the computer much (definitely Beyond Blue, ha), I tend to read magazines, the newspaper, and watch too much TV.
I’m also truly happy for you. This blog is so very important, but you and your family come FIRST. Luv blanche

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posted September 15, 2008 at 9:08 am

I thought the internet would go away! It didn’t, and I have been utilizing my computer in the fashion of the 21st century: surfing, instant messaging, e-mailing, bookmarking. I am pleased with the many years I was nowhere in the vicinity of the box. And the topic of this article is a splendid confirmation of what I had deemed renegade or rebellious behavior, behaviour whereby I found myself deliciously and zealously out of the box.
Within two weeks of being online, I had over 400 emails. Social etiquette(betweeen living beings) propelled me to begin, one by one, reading. Spiritual etiquette swiftly clarified I was “respecting” and responding to the dictates of an inanimate object given life by the pressing of perhaps a single key by a single human finger!
I am thrilled that I have instincts that protect from all invasive elements.

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posted October 1, 2008 at 8:12 am

REST yes, but take a closer look at Genesis. The special benefits of a Sabbath rest are heavenly and closest to being recreated as we draw closer to the One who created us. The Bible says that sin (and therefore its consequences in us) cannot stand in the presence of a holy God, so draw near and it is gently purged away during this rest. The Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Only one day got this treatment because it is our re-creation day each week: the seventh day. Since Christ rose on the first day of the week ( check any of the gospels) it is clear which day has those treasured benefits. And God is a jealous God – jealous for you (not OF you). He wants this togetherness and rest for you more than you do, if you can imagine that!

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posted October 1, 2008 at 8:29 am

if you work online you have to be online. There are ways to control the time you spend. It is still a matter of anything in moderation. Use tools that will get rid of the junk, filter your mail so you see only what you want to see, file the newsletters away. When you need to research them for a project, keywords work.
I find an egg timer works great for limiting my time on a phone call or an email.
Work whether you work from an office or from your home means productive work and even the Internet can help you earn a living.

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Ira L. Imler

posted October 1, 2008 at 8:36 am

I agree with you one hundred percent!! Reading all that e-mail is a waste of time. I thought your article was very informative and an eye opener. I hadn’t realized that I was addicted to my e-mails until I read your article!! The news also is alot of negativity!! I am now focusing on more positive aspects of living.
Thank You, Ira

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posted October 2, 2008 at 6:40 am

I am going to try that. I have a hard time reading all the emails. So I am going to delete them and take your advice. Thank you and may God Bless you!

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Toni Star

posted October 2, 2008 at 6:41 am

I needed to read this because I’ve been thinking this way for quite some time, but not putting it into practice. Will definitely give it a try and keep in mind what’s important and hold fast to priorities.
Thank you….

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posted October 2, 2008 at 9:26 am

I’m going to take you suggestion, and try to put it to work today. Right now I have 2700 pieces of mail in my inbox. 2228 of them are unread. The first thing I have to decide is which ones I should keep like Beliefnet,and which ones I can unsubscribe from like ahyans market. It may take a few days but I am going to do it! Then my inbos should only get about 10 to 20 emails a day. Thanks for your suggestion. I look forward to reading more of your articles. In fact, I just signed up for your feed yesterday, and I intend to read some of your previous articles.
Thanks again,

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posted October 3, 2008 at 1:47 am

I agree that God intended for us to rest on the 7th day. However, i think God was refering to Sabbathday(saturday) not (sunday 1st day).
I truely believe there’s blessing in store for us when we rest according to God’s unchanging plan. “He will keep us in perfect peace who’s mind is stayed on Him.”
May God Bless you as you seek to know him better!

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posted November 8, 2008 at 11:59 am

I know exactly what you mean. Just recently i realized that i was addicted to research on the internet or otherwise; so much to the point that I had to concentrate on being productive. But i found a solution for my mind clutter through this soul communication book. I have practiced its meditation and chanting exercises for a while now. And now i know i was lookin for my self in the clutter. It’s good to know that I wasn’t the only one who cluttered their mind with useless info.

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Danny - Clear Your Clutter

posted July 29, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Tell me about the email addiction! I think its got something to do witha dopamine release when you get a new interesting email. I have now tried to only check my email 3 times every day but i always break the habit when i am not thinking or bored…

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