When data does harm

It is good advise to not check stock prices frequently.

Sure, the stock price affects our portfolio. But given that we have no control over fluctuations in the stock, a minute-by-minute update of the stock price isn’t helpful merely stresses us out. Most national and international headlines also fall into this category.

The local weather report is helpful – we can decide what to wear when we step outside. The national weather report isn’t. Local news is helpful – we can organize, petition and make a chance. National news isn’t. Sleep data from a fitness tracker is of no use to a shift worker who is unable to change their sleep habits. Instead, it can turn into another source of stress.

Information is data that we have the power to can act upon. Everything else is either entertainment or a source of harm.

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