Can you recount ten notable headlines of news articles that you’ve read over the last thirty days?

Probably not.

Don’t worry, neither can I.

But can you recall a point that moved you in a book from the last ten years?

You probably can.

That’s because reading intentional long-form works tend to have a far more lasting effect on our lives than reading any of the day’s gossip columns. If this is true for me as I suspect it is for you, it means that we must be more deliberate than ever before about what we’re ingesting on a regular basis.

Making behavior decisions in the present based on what we know will help us in the future is the very essence of wise judgement.

Here are a few things I do to make sure I’m consuming content that I know helps and not dilutes my perspective:

Use YouTube Videos as Podcasts. Whatever your hobby or profession is, there’s probably someone online who’s said something that you need to know. And while podcasts are plentiful, YouTube trends higher on people’s scope. So I stock pile recommendations that people send me, most notable sermons, tutorials or songs, and play them through my headphones when I have down time, especially during travel. The key here it that you don’t always need to see it to receive it. Hearing them talk is just as essential to the process of learning, and often allows us to retain more information in certain contexts.

Stay Addicted, Just Change The Drug. If you find yourself addicted to reading materials on your mobile device, then leverage your new addiction, don’t despise it. This means putting your Kindle app right next to your favorite news aggregate app. Or better yet, place the pop-culture apps further back in your screen pages and keep your Kindle/iBooks app up front. This visual reminder helps promote long-form works of value while keeping the dreaded pop-web-surfing monster at bay.

Value Authentic Communication First. If you’re a Christian, and you’re tempted to read your email or check social media first, make sure that your Bible app is close. I’d much rather hear what God has to say to me to start my day than what people do. Emails are important and, to an extent, so is social media; they’re just not the most important. It’s the myriad of other voices in my email and social media accounts that tend to side track me. Kick things off right: hear from God first.

What ways have you disciplined yourself to intentionally digest wholesome content while skirting the frivolous?

New good habits are hard to form, but they become just as powerful as old bad ones. Only more so: because they help instead of hinder you.



Nathan Reimer · 28 May ’14 at 3:45 pm

Great tips, especially the app icon placement. I use feed categories for the blogs I follow (I use Feedly) and private lists for Twitter that become columns in Tweetdeck. Organizing by topic helps me scan the titles to see if anything was posted that I want to read.

I completely agree that reading long form is more memorable but it’s like enjoying a banquet when sometimes you just want a snack.

Also if I find something I really enjoyed and want to share I add “Worth your time” and “Amazing” and then have a custom Twitter search setup on my site for each of those. (see footer).

    Christopher Hopper · 28 May ’14 at 3:50 pm

    “It’s like enjoying a banquet when sometimes you just want a snack.”

    So well said. And far too often my wife yells at me for snacking. Dah!

    Christopher Hopper · 28 May ’14 at 3:50 pm

    And great input with your workflow. Love it.

Rachel Hunter · 29 May ’14 at 5:01 pm

Good journalism always moves a person to a higher knowledge of Jesus. You can always tell if the writer knows the Truth, and writes from their intimacy with God. It breathes glory, and draws people (even those who hate God) to a place where they are more willing to accept that the truth is attainable. Gossip columns are not filled with good journalism, but I believe many newspapers are. I do think though that nothing can really dilute our mind, and fill it with untruth. After all, you don’t let garbage stay in your head — you throw it out! lol
Unlike many, I do remember 10 headlines, but that’s only because I just wrote them today. 😉 But again, all that is just one reporter’s opinion… I will be the first one to admit I am addicted to journalism, the telling of people’s stories. It’s so amazing to hear how God is working in people’s lives — even if they don’t know it themselves yet! And that’s something you just don’t tire of, ever. 😀

    Christopher Hopper · 30 May ’14 at 10:32 am

    Ah, if only all journalists had your heart, my dear. May the world be so fortunate.

Mike Kim · 29 May ’14 at 9:48 pm

Couple of things I’ve done to keep me mentally UN-tethered …

1. delete Facebook app from my iPhone
2. turn off badge notifications for email on my iPhone (those little red numbers torment me and demand I clear them)
3. turn off Twitter (I use Tweetbot) notifications on my iPhone

I should probably just get rid of my freaking iPhone.

    Christopher Hopper · 30 May ’14 at 10:32 am

    I long to abandon my iPhone, once my favorite device ever, now the loathsome demander of my attention.

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