It’s everywhere. Your phone, your laptop, your TV, the billboards on the highway, the real estate sales people in malls. There’s an endless list of distractions.
And the most distracting thing of all is, of course, your smart phone.
A single beep and you’re on it. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a dinner date with your crush or if you’re catching up with a good friend over lunch. You don’t even have to pick up your phone.
You’re just distracted.
These unnecessary distractions create noise in your life that you don’t really need. And how you react to them is much like how you react to dogs barking while you’re taking a nap and the caffeine is still in your blood. You just have to shut them out to be able to do what you really need to do.
Not all distractions are considered noise. Some are necessary distractions. Some distractions have important reasons behind it.
Those are called signals.
When you receive an important email about a product launch or when you receive an SMS message from your wife because your baby is about to be delivered.
Signals have meaning. Signals are important. Signals have to be identified and prioritized.
So what do you do?
Eliminate all possible sources of noise and consolidate the places where you will receive the most important signals.
I make sure to keep away from noisy mobile apps. Apps like Viber and Whatsapp. Apps that I don’t really need.
I make sure to close Facebook at work – and not to open it again even on my mobile phone. It’s a huge source of noise that I don’t need – 99% of the time. When someone has something important to say, usually it’s in Slack or it’s in the form of a call or an honest-to-goodness SMS.
After minimizing noise in my life (I believe you can’t really eliminate noise 100%), I then make sure to beef up my signals.
I clean my email inbox. I set up my email dashboard to make sure every email goes where it needs to go – spam, primary, promotions, or their own folders. Email is my number one source of signal in life. In fact, believe it or not, I spend more time in a normal working day doing emails than anything else.
We all have 24 hours in our lives. We all need 7-8 hours of sleep as working adults. We all need work-life balance so that leaves us with 8-12 hours of doing work healthily in a day depending on when you’re an employee or an entrepreneur.
Time is precious. It’s the single, most powerful thing in our lives that naturally dictates when we die. And the straight-up fact is, you can’t do anything to buy more of it.
The information age has enabled us to let ourselves be distracted more than any other time in history. Everyone – every business, every salesperson, every friend, every entity – is just wanting to get on everyone else’s time.
Which means that the secret to being successful in this day and age lies in your ability to minimize noise in your life and to maximize on your ability to jump on the signals.
Make your time count.