The excess noise in your world may be sabotaging your time, energy and priorities.
We live in a busy world. A world full of excess “noise” (audible or otherwise) that constantly bombards us, exhausts our energy levels, and draws our attention away from whatever we are trying to do.
Sounds. Screens. Scents. Food. People. Objects. Technology, …
We need to be very intentional about controlling the “noise”, or else the “noise”will end up controlling us.
The cost of noise
- Reduces productivity. Excess noise (audible or otherwise) negatively impacts our concentration and efficiency. It also saps our mental energy. Our brain constantly assesses which stimuli to ignore and which to pay attention to. The noisier our world, the harder it is to focus on the right thing.
- Inhibits true rest. All of us need times of quiet to restore and recharge our psyches. Yet we are so accustomed to living within our noisy worlds that true quiet is both foreign and scary. As a result, our internal batteries are never able to fully recharge.
- Creates stress. In addition to the stress impact of the two above points, the overstimulation of our noisy worlds has been linked to higher levels of stress and anxiety.
Where is noise hiding in your life?
- Notifications—those little chimes and beeps that announce we’ve received an email, text message, a friend’s Facebook post, or whatever. Most of the time, those notification chimes serve only to distract us from what is truly important.
- Background “filler”—How many homes feature one (or more) televisions on at all times? Do we really need that TV or radio on in the background?
- Music—Music can be a great aid to concentration, blocking out distracting ambient noises or aiding our creativity through intentionally choosing music that evokes a useful emotion. But I fear music has become a habit. How often do we automatically pop those ear buds in without even thinking? When was the last time you drove to the store, took a walk, or puttered in the garden without listening to something?
- Notifications. Ditto above. Those little messages that pop up while we’re working on something else sabotage our focus. Eliminate all but the vital ones.
- Clutter. We may tell ourselves that a cluttered desk a sign of creative genius, but the honest truth is that constantly living in a cluttered environment weighs us down. (Not to mention the potential distractions: Ooh look, the belt I was looking for last week…)
- Apps. Our virtual desktops can become cluttered, too. Is your smart phone clogged with apps you no longer use, or only downloaded because they looked cool? (And what about the siren call of that one game you can’t resist?)
- Moving images. Our eyes are drawn to movement. Even on mute, TV screens distract. So do blinking lights, screen savers, bobbleheads, and a million other objects. How much easier to concentrate on a task, or a conversation with a loved one, when all that “noise” is turned off or put away.
These are just a few areas where unnecessary noise may be hiding.
Where do you need to more intentional about eliminating noise in your life?
Do yourself a favor and give quiet a chance.