Mark and I took a walk around Silver Lake one day, and the peace and quiet was as beautiful as the view. Everything seemed to slow down, and the quieter it was outside, the quieter it became inside. My heart rate slowed down, and the mental chatter disappeared.
It’s noisy out there in our big, full lives and while some of the noise can’t be avoided, we do invite some of it in.
How can we pay attention to the important and meaningful stuff, or even discern what is important or meaningful if we are attempting to pay attention to all of it? The short answer is that we can’t. We need quiet time and space in our homes and our lives for contemplation and clarity so we can choose what matters most.
What matters most looks different for everyone, but we can use similar methods to figure it out.
How to create the quiet
Kill your “read later” folder.
I’ve had “read later” folders for email, apps to let me read articles later, and even folders in physical filing cabinets with things I wanted to read .. later. Read later has always translated into read never for me. All of that stuff waiting to be read made me feel guilty or like I was missing out on something, so I stopped saving it for later. If it was important enough, I would have read it right away.
To avoid saving things to read, stop scanning and skimming the internet. Instead, set aside time each day or even once a week for a reading session. Read what interests you and skip the rest. If you do find something worth saving instead of a general read later folder, organize your info in Evernote.
People are sharing all of the things they think are interesting and if you keep reading it, you’ll never have a chance to decide what’s important to you. If friends and family send you email with You Tube links or an article about the latest health craze that isn’t personal or interesting, delete it. You don’t have to respond or explain.
Curate your Twitter feed.
If there are people auto-tweeting, constantly repeating the same promotional tweets, or sharing things that don’t resonate with you, unfollow them and make room for information that matters to you. You can also follow Scott Stratten’s advice and use this method to get rid of the noise.
20 minutes of complete silence can be hard to sit through, but this series makes meditation approachable and enjoyable, especially when you are first starting. A new session on expanding your happiness starts August 11th and it’s free.
Say yes to less.
Less is not nothing, and it can dramatically reduce the information overload you may be experiencing. Cut your Facebook friends in half. Follow fewer people on Twitter. Delete the blogs from your feed reader that you aren’t enjoying anymore. Unsubscribe from newsletters, free offers and other email that bloats your inbox.
Say no for 30 days.
Commit to turning down invites to parties, requests to volunteer, baking for bake sales and everything else. You don’t have to opt out forever, but give yourself 30 days to contemplate how you really want to contribute and spend your time. Making this a challenge will be especially helpful for people pleasers because you have a built in excuse.
Boycott the news.
Stop watching the drama and consume the news on your own time. Breaking news is broken and it can wait.
Stop contributing to the noise by thinking about what you are sharing and why. If you are a blogger, cut back on your posting schedule. When sharing on social media, share the best things, not everything. Commit to only sharing things that add value to the people who trust you.
Stop the gossip and complaining.
There is no resolution to gossip or complaining. It’s pure noise. Stop.
Do what you love.
Write, make a smoothie, go hiking, or whatever you really love to do. Engaging in what you love isn’t noisy, it’s beautiful and energizing.
Your stuff might not make an audible sound, but it’s really loud. Creating space will create the quiet you deserve in your life.
When you cut noise from your life, you create the quiet time and space you need to appreciate what you have, do the things you love, and pay attention to what matters most.