Rajath Ramakrishna

My information overload stats

Posted on — | 3 min read

I’m no stranger to consuming information on my phone, computer, iPad, etc. I consume them in various forms - text (with newsletters, RSS feeds, read it later services), audio (with podcasts) and video (YouTube). I quit social media several years ago and I’ve always felt good that I don’t spend hours and hours scrolling through my feed on websites like Facebook, Instagram, etc. And my YouTube subscriptions are most educational anyway.

Lately I’ve been feeling that even though the content I consume are all something constructive and something I can learn about, it’s been too much for me to handle. So, I’m making this post just to take a snapshot of what I call the Informational Overload Snapshot at this moment in time in order to understand how much of content I’m subscribed to, how much I’m actually reading/watching/listening to, how much value I’m getting out of all this.

So, here is my Information Overload Snapshot:

  • Newsletters: I’m subscribed to about 20-25 newsletters and I have a total of 2000+ unread newsletters in my email. It doesn’t really tempt me to go and read it all. There’s no way I can do that anyway. It’s something I pick and choose whenever I want to read something - like HackerNewsLetter, Bytes, Farnam Street, etc.
  • Podcasts: subscribed to 33 in total. There are some I listen to as soon as an episode comes out. There are some that have so many episodes that I pick and choose what I want to listen to. There are some I hardly ever listen to, but still keep them around so that I get to it at some point, and I never listen to any of the episodes in them.
  • RSS Feeds: Not a lot, about a dozen subscriptions. LessWrong is one of the big ones because of the high number of posts that get submitted there. What I end up doing is, every few days I go and mark all posts on LessWrong as ’read’. So, excluding LessWrong on average I’d have about 60-80 unread posts in my RSS feed. Every time I think of unsubscribing from this RSS feed, I find some post that I get a lot of value from when I skim through it and I just end up keeping it.
  • Matter: This is a read-it-later app that I’ve been using for some time and whenever I come across long articles that are interesting, I put it in here for later. I don’t have a lot here, about 26 articles but they’re all long articles. Each of them take several minutes to read.
  • Reddit: most of my subscriptions to subreddits are something that serve my curiosity. They all depend on my current interests. I’m not subscribed to fun subreddits like /r/funny, /r/Unexpected, etc. But rather to subreddits like /r/ExplainLikeImFive, /r/AskScience, /r/emacs, /r/fishshell, /r/ErgoMechKeyboards, etc.
  • Mastodon: mostly used for informational purposes. I’m part of an emacs instance, fosstodon and indieweb instances. No time-wasters, really. No “fun” instances.
  • YouTube: I’m subscribed to about 20+ channels and about half of them post regular updates. And almost all of them are educational content or something that I’m interested in.
  • Open tabs in my browsers: Yeah, I said browsers because I’m including what I use on my laptop, phone and iPad. My phone has about 50+ open tabs. My laptop has less than a dozen open tabs. My iPad has about the same number.
  • HackerNews: I rarely use HackerNews since I’m subscribed to the newsletter. But every now and then I do go to Hackernews out of boredom.

This will be the first part of my exercise to start cutting down on stuff I consume. My future posts will (hopefully) capture some cutbacks, unsubscribes, deletions and letting go of things.