Turn Down the Noise

Turn Down the Noise

Recently I did a review of the websites and apps that I check regularly and I was surprised. It's become almost a habit so I didn't really realize how much time that it was taking out of my daily routine.

While some of these sites and apps I check for work purposes, too often I've found that I'm wasting a ridiculous amount of time just "checking in" on things. Who's saying what? What's the latest update? And to what end? Now some of these sites I keep up with to stay on top of trends for my business but the rest of it is unrelated to any of my current goals.

If I’m busy with work I tend not to check any of the above aside from my emails, but I still feel like I need to keep on top of the whole list. But if I've got a busy day I typically won't really check in until the kids are in bed. So instead of spending any quality time talking with my wife we're often found in the evenings both trawling through updates on our phones and then quickly watching some TV before going to bed and we wake up exhausted the next day to repeat the same process over again.

Is it worth it?

No. It’s not. In the past several years we’ve become lazy with communication. We think we’re communicating more but for the most part we’re wasting our time putting out content and expecting our followers to see it, which half the time they probably don’t. There's so much digital noise now that it's easy to miss the really important news from family, friends, and peers.

Whether it's something you realize or not, at any given point in time, you're pursuing a goal. It could be a personal or for your business. Either way, the information that you consume, whether from the internet, social media or print, should be measured against your objectives. When conscious of your goals it's easy to realize that there are three kinds of information that you consume:

1) Things that are relevant to your current goals
2) Things you can "bookmark" for future reference
3) Irrelevant information that's just noise

Relevant Information

When you're pursuing an objective it's important to take the time to seek out information that will help you get there. This could be educational videos or blogs, conferences, webinars, etc. When you're working toward a particular target finding relevant content is key to your success.

Future Relevance

Often when I'm working on a particular project I come across information that, although it does not help with the current situation it's generally good knowledge to have. I seem to find this type of content when I'm looking for something else. Years ago I created a specific bookmark folder in my web browser dedicated to exactly these types of items. Every couple of months I sort through the list and make sure that the list is still relevant. I've found that bookmarking content for later reference has been a great savior when I'm in a bind and is often a huge time saver too.

Irrelevant Noise

Sadly it seems to me that so much of the content that I consume on a daily basis falls into this category. With the surge in recent years of social media, everyone has a platform to speak their mind on any number of issues. In truth, many spout off about topics that they have no expertise in and say whatever comes to their minds with no filter. The problem is that the opinions that are being shared are irrelevant to anything that I am currently dealing with in my life. I have to ask why I'm wasting my time consuming this sort of content? It does me no good and doesn't help me to get any closer to my goals so what's the point?

What to do

So it was after I evaluated the content that I was consuming on a daily basis that I realized that I needed to do some serious house cleaning. I started by removing any content that didn't help me toward my current or future goals. I seriously pared back the number of people that I was following on social media and even unsubscribed from newsletters that I was receiving via email. Most importantly I removed anyone or anything that was bringing negativity into my routine. When you clean up who you're following and who you're engaging with online you'll bring a sense of calm to your routine.

In short...

Follow the people that you genuinely care about. Find ways to actually engage with them. Don't just follow them but find ways in which they can enrich your life and you theirs.

Live your life. Don't worry about the life that someone else is living. Most likely you can't trust that it's a true portrayal of their life anyhow.

Find a way to be at peace. There's no need to know what's happening in every corner of the globe at every second of the day. Take a break and put the phone and computer away. Spend time with the people around you because, in the end, they're all that really matter anyway.