How do you tune out the noise and constant bombardment of information?
Read on and learn ...
The noise of life. It is all around us. It started when we woke up this morning and will not stop until we close our eyes and Mr. Sandman comes and pays a visit.
One of the many issues that arises with evolving and living in an advanced society is the noise that comes with it. I am not referring to the physical noise of the machinery. We want more information, and we want it faster. It has caused a new syndrome for people that get addicted to information. It's called FOMO - Fear of Missing Out. It is the need to constantly checking every channel of communication that we have available. The advent of easy social media sites has made the problem even worse. We were not content with getting the details of every news story twenty-four hours a day. We are now addicted to what our friends are saying all day and all night long. (I use the term "friend" loosely. Because of Dunbar's Number, I believe that very few of the people we are connected to online are truly friends. They should be referred as acquaintances.) It doesn't matter how you refer to them. We are addicted to what they say, how they eat, and how their day is going. Cyberstalking is a very open and very acceptable practice.
Eliminating the noise around you is one of the key components of you achieving amazing success. You and your brain don't get much alone time together. But when you do, amazing things can happen. When you can apply yourself to a single task or a single thought for an extended, uninterrupted period of time, you can accomplish more in an hour that most people do in a week. But our lives are not geared towards having focused time. We have created an interrupt-driven society that prevents great people from doing great things. We can do better.
Three Ways You Can Tune Out The Noise Starting Right Now:
- Strict Email Diet - Do not keep your email program open when you work. You don't check your regular mail every hour, why do you check your email every minute? For most of us, nothing comes across via email that is urgent. The other person might think it is urgent. But don't let somebody else's priorities determine yours. If you are trying to complete an important task that someone emailed you yesterday, the worst thing you can do is start somebody else's new task today. It borders on rude. Since email is usually sorted by 'most recent on top', it gets us into the bad habit of pushing down the older things that we should be working on. Restrict yourself to checking email once or twice a day. Add a new email signature that says "I only check my email at 9am and 4pm". This will start to train people to not expect fast responses. If people start complaining about your slow email responses, then you will have to train them that this is not a way of being rude. It is your way of producing higher quality work for them. It is better to get fewer, higher quality tasks completed then several low-quality ones.
New Habit: Only check email twice a day.
- Strict Phone Diet - I have a strict phone policy that you should use as an example: I rarely answer my phone. When a phone rings, it is a loud immediate interruption to whatever you are doing. It demands your attention - if you let it. Just like emails, most phone calls are not emergencies. The same rule applies to text messages. When you are trying to focus on a task (like writing a blog post), put your phone on silent for an hour. Resist the urge to check it every five minutes for new text messages and phone calls. Let voicemail do its job.
New Habit: Start ignoring your phone more.
- Be Selfish With Your Friday - I have a new habit that I started implementing about a year ago. I reserve Fridays for marketing and planning work. My assistant and I don't schedule any appointments on that day. No phone calls and no meetings are allowed. When you are a small business owner, you are responsible for all your marketing. Most businesses fail because of poor marketing, not poor ideas. The worst thing you can do is work on marketing "when you get a chance". Look at your calendar and pick a day when you can dedicate yourself to your business growth and office administrative work. I recommend a day that borders with a weekend - Mondays and Fridays are the best. You can implement this habit whether you are a business owner or you work for a large corporation. This will give you a solid eight hours of office productivity a week. Be sure to alter your calendar and mark 8am - 5pm as reserved. This will prevent people of scheduling meetings for you.
New Habit: Start reserving large blocks of time to be productive.
These will be hard. They go against the bad habits that you have become used to. If you are like most people, reaching for your phone is an unconscious habit that you do without even looking. Email is a program that is open all of the time. It is the way we have come to live. But we must change it. Buck the norm and start living a focused life. Your brain will thank you, and you will be rewarded with skyrocketing productivity.