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This Year, Try Spring Cleaning Your Brain

“If you don’t know what you want, you will never be satisfied with anything you have,” he added.

We have all been inundated by a relentless news cycle, a fire hose of information coming at us in the form of breaking news notifications, social media posts and email newsletters (among other sources) that can leave us feeling anxious, angry or even helpless.

“Now is the time to completely overhaul your news consumption,” said Cal Newport, a computer science professor at Georgetown University and the author of “Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World.”

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Choose just one or two reliable sources and read them at a specific time each day, he advised. For example, you can listen to a news roundup podcast while commuting to work or read a newspaper at breakfast, Dr. Newport said.

Dr. Newport, who is 39 and has managed to avoid social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram and TikTok for his entire adult life, also recommends taking a 30-day break from the technologies in your life that are optional.

In his book, he described what happened when 1,600 people gave it a try. Those who lasted the full 30 days were “cheerily gung-ho and positively aggressive about trying to fill in the time,” he said.

So instead of reflexively watching TikTok or scrolling through Instagram during your free time, think about what you would be doing if you weren’t on either of those platforms: Reading a novel? Taking a restorative walk in nature? Relaxing and listening to music?

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Set aside time for those activities.

During the pandemic, and especially during lockdown, many people finally began to clear the junk out of their homes, a phenomenon The Washington Post referred to as the “great decluttering.” If you haven’t tackled your pile of clutter, now might be a good time to do it.

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