Can I 'Marie Kondo' My Media Consumption?

The big fad of the year is the “Marie Kondo” makeover for organizing and decluttering your life.

I am curious whether I can apply the same idea to how I engage with media,  and thus declutter my day.

The foundation of the Kondo strategy is for you to lay out all of the things you own and determine which of these gives you joy.  If it doesn’t give you joy, then you get rid of it, to better focus on the things that do.

I spend too much time reading a litany of websites on a daily basis and soaking up information, but does any of that give me joy?  How do I define “joy” in the context of media?

I read three primary buckets of content: marketing news, current events and popular culture.  I read two of these because I have to, and one because I want to.  

If you peel back these three buckets, you find between eight to 10 sources where I spend my time.  It doesn’t feel like a large list, but baked into these sources are three “aggregator” sites: Flipboard, Apple News and Google.  



This also doesn’t take into account that Facebook is a news aggregator as well as a source when it comes to updates from friends and family that I otherwise wouldn’t be getting if I weren’t on Facebook.  The rest of my list is made up of six to seven individual sites that I visit on a regular basis.

The remaining channel for news that I find relevant is email, since there’s always interesting stuff being sent to me.  After laying these out, I have to ask myself, “Do any of these channels and sources give me joy?”

Way back when I was a student at college, a professor said to me if I wanted to be successful in advertising and marketing, I should become a student of popular culture.  He said, basically, “You want to understand what motivates the masses, and pop culture is full of signals that tell you where the wind is blowing." 

I also tend to have joy by reading about music, movies and such.  Credit that joy to my upbringing and being raised in a musical household.  Pop culture is fun, and I like connecting the dots, so I guess that means I gain joy from it.  Those sources turn out to be only a few of the things I read regularly, so they can stay.

Marketing news is a necessity because I always need to be improving my craft.  I enjoy what I do, and there are always new ways of achieving success. 

Marketing is an ever-changing landscape of ideas. I enjoy seeing what others are doing and taking away ideas I can apply to my own line of business, so I guess that ticks off the box of creating joy for me.  That gets to stay as well.

That brings us to current events/news.  Unfortunately, none of that seems to give me joy.  I get no joy in reading about politics, climate change, suicides, hate crimes or any of the items I see on the news.  

That being said, I have to read about these things because I’m a responsible adult and I need this information in order to be informed, to vote and help shape the future.  I get no joy in the present state of the news, but I have optimism about the future.  I’m not too sure that equates to pure joy, but at least it’s a start.

So, if none of these can get cut, how do I declutter my life when the media I have access to is basically what I have to read and digest?  

I think the organization and decluttering comes from putting constraints on all of the above.  Marie Kondo may be onto something that I overlooked in my first review of her strategy.  I overlooked being present as something that gives me joy.  

Organizing means limiting my time with any of these sources of input and focusing on where I am, who I am with and how that makes me feel in the moment.

Maybe this concept of determining what gives you joy should simply be applied to recognizing where you are and whether that moment brings you joy.  Maybe not engaging with media for a moment and engaging with the people around you is more joyful. Maybe that's what we should be spending our time doing?

It seems like a not-so-novel concept, but one we should all put into practice. 

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