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Latest insights and trends in Personal Analytics, Operational Intelligence, and Workplace Productivity.

Dec 22
Personal Analytics for the Weekend: Go on a New Year's Information Diet

2015 is right around the corner, and if you’re part of the 40% of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions here’s a good one:  go on an Information diet.  Clay Johnson’s book, The Information Diet, makes a convincing argument that, much like junk food leads to obesity and health problems, gorging on cheap, plentiful information (celebrity news, discussions, texts from friends, twitter updates, emails selling products, etc.) leads to information obesity. 

Dieting --information and otherwise--starts with a commitment to change. Developing healthy information consumption habits that do not reinforce your biases is easy as long as you commit to action through identifying what you need to change about your habits, routines and attitudes that control your environment.  

One way to get started is to keep a media journal where you spend 5 or 10 minutes each hour recording in a notebook what you’re doing on an hourly basis.  A simpler and easier way is to install the current edition of OmniContext™ Personal Analytics, which automatically and discreetly collects and analyzes real-time data from a wide range of sensors—including e-mail, instant messaging, phone calls, websites visited---in addition to physical sensors such as GPS and accelerometers.  Personal Analytics also generates reports from all these sensors for daily, weekly and monthly time periods, which gives you the ability to spot trends over time and discover which distracting activities, habits or people are eating up your day.

Johnson offers other useful suggestions for adjusting your information consumption habits, such as

  • turning off visual and sound alerts that announce new email to keep you being a slave to your email,and


  • scheduling dedicated time for communications or media and avoiding email, instant messages, social networking, and news outside of pre-defined blocks each day.


If your New Year always starts with you reeling off the same old commitments to join a gym, lose weight or give up any of a number of bad habits, maybe you should try a new kind of New Year's resolution to boost your happiness and revitalize your life--an information diet.  By not contributing to information obesity and making more conscious, deliberate media consumption choices, you’ll be making the world a better place by reducing the amount of ignorance out there.  Who knows?  By actively ignoring ignorance, it might eventually just go away.

If you’d like to use OmniContext™ Personal Analytics as a part of your New Year’s information diet, download a free copy here.


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