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Less Noise = Louder Signal?


Yesterday I was out for a hike in this beautiful April, I mean February, weather at Lone Elk Park. Two things worth remarking about.

  1. Its apparent these Elk are completely desensitized to humans. I watched people get quite close to them.

  2. I found myself in a conversation about filtering what comes into my life so I might better hone my focus around a few things.

As someone with broad curiosity, the world often feels like my oyster. An adventure or something to learn seems to lay around most corners. The potential downside of this from time-to-time is spreading myself too thin. I might keep things at surface level rather than really digging in. While I believe there is a valuable role for generalists to play in the world, lacking a degree of depth in subjects can be challenging.

My friend I was hiking with posed, "what if you just stopped allowing distractions to come in that have nothing to do with what you're working on now?" It was an interesting thing to reflect on. What all is distracting me? What if I labeled them and then tried shutting them down for a period of time to work with what I already have in front of me rather than taking in new things?

Last night I made a list of "10 Ways I Might Filter Distractions" and paired it back to what felt like a viable experiment. My plan for this week is to remove the following from my inbound list when it doesn't inhibit my work or personal obligations

  1. No social media

  2. No podcasts

  3. No TV

  4. No email newsletters

  5. No news

Permitted things

  1. Direct messages (I want to keep up with and be available to anyone reaching out to me)

  2. Phone calls

  3. Work-related internet

  4. Books and magazine articles: I’m allowing myself to review previously read content if I need it as a reference

  5. Personal obligations necessitating the web

If I remove all these distractions, what will be left to do with my time? Will I write even more? Will I stare at the wall? Will I regret this? Time will tell?

Go Forth Boldly

“All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Blaise Pascal


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