Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Noise and Signal

Everything I'm reading stresses important the importance of focus. Self-help blogs and memoirs of incredible people talk of shutting out the noise. I'm catching on.

This weekend, I weeded my Twitter followings. I don't used Twitter much any more. The noise has crowded out most of the signal. Clearing away the cruft, I thought about what Twitter does for me.

Not much. Not enough.

So I unfollowed everyone. If you're offended, I'm a little sorry. I kept Twitter to publicized my blog, but it isn't doing much. My tweets are calls into the wilderness with nary an echo.

This morning, I weeded Facebook. If I unfriended you, remember, it's just Facebook. I want friendship, not Zuckerfriendship. I'm still connected to fifty people on there. I haven't moved to a cabin in the woods yet. I just want to focus on things that matter.

On Facebook right now are family pictures, ads, and angry stuff from teachers about what's happening to our profession. Only the family pictures feel worthwhile.

I want to evaluate what is and isn't going me good. I want to maximize the good, eliminate the noise.

I don't watch much television. I check work email only at work. I've cut down on reading, watching, or listening to the world news. I'm trying to cut down on reading tech news, but that's my candy or my Kryptonite.

I read. I write. I spend time with my girls. I'm getting back to running. I'm into the National Writing Project again. I'm applying for new kinds of jobs.

Finding signal, shutting out noise.

In the waiting room, waiting for my wife's surgery today, a news report told the story of a child left in an overheated car for seven hours until he was dead. That's tragic, but I've mostly shut the story out because it is absolute noise. I don't know these people, can't do anything about it, and any effort I invest in it yields no return. It is probably trending on Twitter and Facebook but in what way does that story make my life any better? I know not to leave a dog or cat, let alone a child in a car. It's just noise.

I waste plenty of time every day. I'm trying to waste a little less and unclutter my mind. Eliminating Twitter makes me feel better. Cutting down on Facebook "friends" helps too. Writing this instead of following some "news" feed is good. I'm a better person when I pay attention to signal, engage in things that matter, shut out the noise and write on.