Less is Actually More: What is a Low-Information Diet, and Is it Right for You?

The end of 2017 rolled around, and I felt myself craving margin. Life was full–full of some really good things–but full nonetheless. As I sat down to do my PowerSheetsPrep Work, I started to see a theme.

I had too much stuff.
I felt unsteady, wavering back and forth based on circumstances instead of truth.
I was no longer doing something I loved: reading.
My eyes were heavy.

The root of all those things? Information overload.

I had too much stuff because I was on every single shop mailing list. I felt unsteady because I spent too much time on Instagram, silently comparing myself during the scrolling. I was reading less because my free time was full of work and wedding planning and traveling. I was tired because I spent a lot of time staring at a screen–both for work, and after-hours while wedding planning.

It was a stark wake-up call. I immediately knew one of my PowerSheets goals needed to be "Phone Down, Eyes Up." Short, simple, but packs a big punch (the best kinds of goals often do that!).


What is a Low-Information Diet? 

A Low-Information Diet means you're limiting the consumption of media in your life. Tim Ferris coined the term "Low-Information Diet" in his book The 4-Hour Work Week, where he talks about the importance of cultivating selective ignorance. "Selective" is an important word here! He doesn't talk about complete ignorance in all things, but instead talks about the disservice consuming what doesn't concern you does to yourself and those around you.

“Just as modern man consumes both too many calories and calories of no nutritional vale, information workers eat data both in excess and from the wrong sources.” -Tim Ferris

What's going to matter to you when you're 80?
What are the things you will look back on and want more of?

Not sure what those things are? That's okay! PowerSheets can help you uncover what matters most and make a plan to cultivate those things–the right things.

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Those are the things you can start to cultivate now. Nothing says you have to wait until January 1st to start making changes. As cultivators, we're big believers in little by little progress!

Trying to decide if embracing a Low-Information Diet is right for you? Here are my three checkpoints I'd encourage you to try:

Check the phone usage in your battery life. On my iPhone, I can go to my Settings > Battery and it will show me what apps have used the largest percentage of my battery life over the past 24 hours or 7 days. This is eye-opening!

Answer this question: What is the first thing you reach for when you wake up each morning? If it's your cell phone to open your email, social media, or blog reader, your television remote, or a newspaper, it could be a sign it's time to take a step back.

Download the Moment app. Moment automatically tracks how much you use your iPhone and iPad each day, and it allows you to set limits based on the information you see!


There's no better time than the start of summer to kick a bad habit to the curb. This can be your summer to thrive! Fill those longer days with the things that fire you up. Make your own list of things to do instead of scrolling or watching television, and start checking those off one-by-one!

We'll be kicking off a series on cultivating a Low-Information Diet over the next few weeks, and we're excited to learn together! Up next, practical ways to set yourself up for success and how to use your PowerSheets to keep the momentum going!
Show Comments (21)
  1. Lori

    This was spot on what I needed to hear, Laura! Thank you! 💕

    • Jess Metcalf
      Jess Metcalf

      I'm so grateful you were encouraged by my words, Lori! We can cheer each other on in this! -Jess

  2. Sarah Gusky Kemer
    Sarah Gusky Kemer

    I love this!! And yes, I've noticed it too. I started my final graphic design course last night and I know I'm going into a lot of screens and information. I'm already feeling filled up with leadership in my home, church, and work life. I'm excited for a Low-Info series!!

    • Jess Metcalf
      Jess Metcalf

      What an exciting season ahead, Sarah! Grateful we could provide content that is helpful for the time you do commit to the screen :) Xx!

  3. Vani

    I love this!! I really think i am spending way too much time on Instagram that sometimes i feel myself comparing and also wasting much time daily. Sigh!

    • Jess Metcalf
      Jess Metcalf

      I found that culling my IG feed was super helpful in cutting down on my time! Try that, and see if it helps, Vani!

  4. Michelle

    I’m intrigued by the idea of “selective ignorance.” I’m always falling into the trap of feeling like I need to know everything about everything—even if it’s something I really don’t care that much about! My brain needs a break!

    • Jess Metcalf
      Jess Metcalf

      Yes! I completely understand, Michelle! We can cheer each other on! Xx!

  5. Melissa

    I really enjoyed reading this post, Jess. Thank you for sharing your insight and tips!

    • Jess Metcalf
      Jess Metcalf

      I'm so grateful it was helpful, Melissa! Glad we can be on this journey together!

  6. Ty

    This is where I’m at in the moment. I’ve been unplugged for 3 weeks & I look forward to the Low Info diet! This is very timely! And so needed thank you!

    • Jess Metcalf
      Jess Metcalf

      Thanks for sharing some of your screentime with us, Ty! Xx!

  7. Myra

    I needed to read this...I’ve been feeling this way so much lately.

  8. Lacey

    Super timely for me! I have been well-aware, for several weeks now, that I am consuming entirely too much. I don’t want to go through my summer that way. It’s been exhausting and unproductive and such a waste of my time and energy. I needed the reminder that I can start today! I am going to write out some phone boundaries/limits, get out my “old school” alarm clock, and download the app you mentioned. Thank you for sharing!

  9. Christa

    I downloaded Moment last year and it made a HUGE impact on how much I use my phone. It's like a game trying to stay in the green everyday. :)

  10. Beth

    Love the battery settings idea to see how much I use certain apps.

  11. Anita

    Just what I needed to hear! Wow! Consuming too much data - don't really need it - I'm looking forward to hearing more!

  12. Diana Kerr
    Diana Kerr

    AMAZING content, Jess! QualityTime is the Android equivalent of Moment in case anyone's wondering! (Android peeps, I've got you covered! ;))

  13. Chantel

    "Less" happens to be my word for the month. Like yourself I finally hit the point of information overload. In an effort to put technology back in it's proper place and to reestablish some balance in my life, I have instituted device and internet free Sundays, unsubscribed from every email I could, and typically stop all device usages after 7:00 pm most days.

    Good to know I am not alone. Thanks for the timely post.

  14. Alicia

    Thank you.... just what I needed to hear !!! Social media is the first and last of my day and its awful... my reading has so fallen behind and so many other things... thanks for the encouragement

  15. Sara

    All. The. Yes!! I was so excited to see this and can't wait to see all the tips in the series. I just got a social media challenge to take part in and a couple new books about being present so, this is great timing for me. Thanks!! :)

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