Monday, September 14, 2015

52 Weeks To A Simpler Life Tip #2 – Eliminate Newspapers, Magazines & Newsletters

First, how are you coming along with Tip #1 – Decluttering? I hope you're sticking to your guns if you decided to take on the challenge. Remember, I made this particular process the first one because I knew just how challenging and time consuming it will be. But, don't throw in the towel. A year from now you're going to look back and not only thank me, but wonder what you've been thinking all these years.


All the news that's fit to print.” That's what the New York Times slogan has been since October 25, 1896. But, “This isn't Kansas anymore, Toto,” a paraphrase of the comment Dorothy made to her little dog in the “Wizard of Oz.” What I mean is, that was then and this is now. Is that enough quoting and cliche's for now? I hope so.

The newspaper, as well as printed magazines, newsletters and other forms of printed periodicals, were (key word - “were”) all important forms of current news and information dissemination. Then, enter radio and then television news. And much of the news was available much faster. But, the newspapers and other print media were still pretty strong. They provided local news, information on local events and local people and, of course, advertising for local merchants and service providers.

Then, about twenty years ago, a little known, until that time, new form of medium started a revolution. You're experiencing this revolution as you read this article. It is called the Internet and the virtually brand new World Wide Web. A very small, select group of academicians, scientists and some government national security people had access to the precursor to what we now refer to as the Internet beginning in the 1960's. Actually, early experimentation began in the 1950's. I don't believe anyone had even a hint of what this digital resource would become over the next three decades. And, of course, the explosion of the Internet and the World Wide Web over the past two decades makes science fiction pale in comparison.

So, here we are, 2015 and all the news you could ever want, and probably ten times more that you'd be just as glad to never see, has become available at the speed of light. Initially, it was available on your computer. But, as technology is going to do, it expanded your options. Today your traditional TV screen, small devices called tablets (tablet computers and the iPad for those who bought into Steve Jobs innovation that he foresaw in the 80's) and smart phones provide access to the Internet. And for those on the very cutting edge, Dick Tracy (if you're younger than a certain age you may not know who Dick Tracy and Sam Catchem were) style wristwatch communicators/computers place the news on your wrist.

So, here's the question of the moment. Are you one of the people who still subscribes to a newspaper? Do you still receive print and paper magazines, newsletters or other periodicals (including catalogs). Why?

I don't want to hear the over used and invalid, because I love the smell of the paper and ink (like the people who refuse to accept that electronic books or ebooks are replacing print books using the same excuse). I'm sure you just can't stop yourself from enjoying all that ink that rubs off on your hands and often transfers to your clothes and sometimes, even your face.

Or, maybe your excuse is, because it supports the local economy. That's a good one, too. How come you gave up your buggy whip and carriage? Don't you still enjoy the smell of horse manure and the joy of cleaning it off your shoes when you stepped in some on the side of the dirt road? That supported the local economy, too.

I'm sure it still makes sense to have to slog out on a rainy or snowy day to get the home delivered newspaper that just didn't quite make it to your doorstep. I used to be one of those newspaper boys who started my entrepreneurial career delivering those papers. I made sure that paper was were it belonged, on the porch, because you always rewarded me with a nice tip. And gee, don't you enjoy watching those papers stack up, often, today, going unread or only partially read, so you can tie them up and carry them to the paper recycling bin. You spend good money so you can create more work for yourself and waste.

Am I making a point here? I hope so.

STOP! Eliminate Newspapers And The Other Printed Periodicals From Your Life!!!

Here is this weeks tip in your 52 week challenge to a simpler life. If you still subscribe to a traditional printed newspaper, cancel your subscription. The same is true for any magazines, newsletters, catalogs and other printed periodicals you receive.

Virtually everything you'd want in the form of information from these forms of media is available instantly and at will on the Internet. I receive a daily news-feed from both The Washington Post (now owned by Jeff Besos, founder of and the New York Times. I also have at least a couple other news-feeds.

I still receive a couple printed magazines and newsletters, but I'm trying to stop them, too. The publishers, for some reason, don't want to stop sending them to me in paper form. Since most of the few I receive are free trade things supported by advertising, I don't feel guilty about throwing them away.

I actually receive just about every professional and trade publication I could want, digitally, for free. Here's the thing. We live in a world of TMI, too much information. Or, to put it another way, Information Overload, if you will. I go for weeks and months without reading most of the trade and professional information because I just don't have time to consume it all and still eat and sleep. (No, I don't care to read my phone when I'm using the bathroom.)

I do not subscribe to the paid digital versions of the Washington Post or the New York Times because, frankly, I really don't want to read all the crap that's in them. I can typically read 10 articles per month from each digital newspaper feed and most months go by and I don't use up my quota on either service. Yet, most people consider me to be very well informed on what's going on in our world and the local world around me. That's because we can't escape news. It's become a pervasive part of life. It's everywhere.

Here's another point to consider. Most news is NEGATIVE! Heck! Life is complicated and problematic enough without me having to be inundated with every kidnapped kid, every gang murder, every athlete's domestic violence issue, every “Black Lives Matter” march and riot, every cop killed, every terrorist plot, etc. Guess what MY LIFE MATTERS to me, first and foremost and I hope your life matters to you on that same level.

So, getting rid of all this information overload, especially if you're paying for it and it's only filling you with negative thoughts and feelings is just dumb. It's a waste of your money and a waste of natural resources. How about if we save some of that money and find better uses for it. How about if we save a few trees and gas and diesel in all the costs to produce that printed matter. How about if we stop paying money to create waste that either fills up our landfills or goes to recycling plants. How about if we give ourselves a break and stop filling our minds with all the shit the world is dumping on us. Down with negative. Up with positive.


The action this week is simple! And, unlike Tip #1, you can accomplish Tip #2 in, probably, an hour, maybe two, at the most. Cut the ties that bind. Cancel your newspaper! And, if you don't have a subscription, but buy them at a convenience store or newsstand – STOP! Don't do that anymore.

The same is true for your magazines and other print periodicals. When the current subscription runs out, DON'T RENEW! If you are on automatic renewal, call them TODAY! Tell them to cancel your automatic renewal order effective immediately.

So much of what we do is habitual. Perhaps, at some point in time, these habits were useful and maybe productive. But, that was then and this is now. “The times, they are a changin'.” according to Bob Dylan. Change is constant and inevitable, we all know that (don't we?). But, it's probably truer now than just about any time in the history of humanity.

Maxwell Maltz, in his book, “Psycho-cybernetics” informed readers that it takes 21 days to make or break any habit, regardless of whether it's a good or bad habit. So, if reading the print versions of these various media is a habit, start today, now, to break the habit. If you must, read online.

I can pretty much guarantee, once you get these archaic print dinosaurs out of your reach and view, you'll find you won't miss them. And even better, the less negative input you allow into your head, the more positive your outlook on life will become. Instead of being stressed by all the bad news, you'll rejoice in all the good things that are happening and going on around you.

The news media – regardless of the medium used to transmit the news to you – doesn't make a lot of money from advertisers by proffering good news. People, as a species, are voyeurs by nature. The more spectacular the news event such as disappearing airplanes, mass murders, bombing marathon runners and spectators, stealing drugs, robbing seniors of their life savings by run a muck, greedy, corrupt hedge fund operator or banker, government scandals and corruption using taxpayers money for personal gain, the better the public likes it.

Be different! Be a positive influence in a world being sucked into the whirlpool of negativity. Stop the subscriptions today. Let me know how you make out. Leave a comment on the blog article, send something to me via email, post on the Living Free Facebook page or +1 me and leave a comment on Google +. Til next week's tip, Live Free & Be Happy!


Anonymous said...

U are so right, in the past year or so I have been shredding, recycling, eliminating old magazines, newspapers & 20 years old bank statements, notices, warnings & other shits. I have much room in that' house & I feel freer now ! What a relief not to have piles of printed old news & pictures. Wish I have done it 10 years ago !!!


Camilla said...

I eliminated lots and lots of papers from one room today. Still have a whole house, she'd and barn to go. At this rate I'll be done in ten years. Maybe I could just runaway and leave and come back and do it next year ��. I couldn't find the link to your Facebook page Ed.

Anonymous said...

Camilla, yes, is overwhelming to shred & shred & shred... is discouraging to see all that went down, but U still have T O N S to go; the problem is if you procrastinate it will NEVER get done !!! I know the feeling very often I try to escape just out of desperation !!!

Keep on shredding, KEEP THE GOOD WORK !!!

Camilla said...

Where is the Facebook link Ed?

Camilla said...

Oh yeah, in my first comment I typed shed and good ole autocorrect decided I meant she'd. Then you saw it and figured I meant shred. In any event I was talking about a full shed. Silly me. Will I never learn to read what I type?

Anonymous said...

Is happens in the best families !!

Ed Helvey - Location Independent Traveler said...

Anonymous and Camilla, Thanks for both your thoughts and comments.

We live in a constantly changing and evolving world and it's all coming at us faster and faster. Young people assimilate very quickly, but some of us older folks (and in today's changing world, older can actually begin in the mid 30's in some cases) are set in our ways, don't readily accept change and still think and live in an analog world - even though we may use computers and the Internet. Change is inevitable, as we all, surely, know. But, changing is 100% choice and some of us will go kicking and screaming. In some ways I think all of us "older" folks reject and resist change, but whether we like it or accept it, it's going to happen anyway. I have eliminated hundreds of pounds of paper from my life over the past 8 years. You'd think I was beyond it by now, but I'm still working at it. Actually, as I was just composing this comment, I just thought of another way to eliminate a pile of important legal papers with the help of digital technology. We just have to accept and release our creativity.

Camilla, the Living Free Facebook Fan Page is directly below the "Follow by Email" line on the main full Web site version, it's to the right of the first paragraph of the blog text - It says "Follow us on Facebook" - just click "Like."

If you're using a mobile device (smart phone or tablet) it doesn't show on the mobile version, but if you scroll to the very end of the page you'll see a prompt that says "View Web Version." Click on that and it will take you to the full version of the blog and you can take it from there. of you can go to