We are inundated with information and data these days – most of which serve to distract us from more important things, yet they are effective nonetheless. And for some reason our brain really likes distractions.
News alerts, trending stories, texts, emails and social media can fill our day and then some. Information is generally viewed as a good thing, but most of it isn’t. Most information these days is nothing more than noise.
Perhaps you have said, “If I only had more time, I would do this or that.” Or, “I get 200 emails every day, I can’t possibly read them all.” Those are realistic challenges. But the issue is not the amount of information; it is a failure to define your values and create personal filters.
Here are a few steps to help you identify and create the right filters for you:
- As far as your time, what one or two activities bring you the greatest happiness?
- What activities during the day take up most of your time and/or frustrate you?
- Prioritize the activities that make you happy and those things you spend most of your time on. Get rid of those activities that distract from what you value.
- Unsubscribe, unlike, unlink from those that needlessly fill your email boxes and mind.
An Email Example
Many people brag about how many emails they get each day, as if it is some sort of badge of honor. Perhaps it feeds their ego. The truth is the person who gets a lot of emails is not in control of their own attention. Their attention is being dictated by others, and most of that information is noise.
To get control of your attention, and ensure you have sufficient time dedicated to the things you value most, consider unsubscribing to non-essential emails. Sure, you may miss an information nugget here or there, but you will gain time to spend on those things you value most. This is a day of tradeoffs. What is good, better and best?
Define your values, prioritize, filter, unsubscribe and repeat.