Right now, stop and take an inventory of the noise in your life. How noisy is your world? And I’m not just talking about the noise that is measured by decibels. I’m talking about: constant phone calls, texts and emails; relationship or children’s issues; sirens, music, traffic; chatty co-workers, incessant talkers, gossips; and unresolved tasks. All of this seems to need your immediate attention, with no regard for your personal time and space.
According to a popular search engine, on average a person spends 49 minutes daily managing email and receives an average of 75 emails a day. According to a 2011 PEW report, the average adult receives an average of 41.5 messages per day, and a median user sends or receives 10 texts daily. The same survey says 18 – 29 year olds receive an average of 17 phone calls per day. Talk about noise.
There’s no question that noise can have negative ramifications on our lives. It can shatter our ability to focus, it can melt our patience, squelch our desire to learn, and decimate our ability to reach our goals. Yet, noise can become so engrained in our lives that we may not even realize its negative, “road-block” implications.
Are you like a ball in a pinball machine, bouncing from noise to noise, never really understanding that you need to eliminate it for clarity’s sake? Who is running the show here — the noise or you?
At my business, Total Package Professional, we use a tool we call The Noise Spectrum to learn how to lose irrelevant noise in our world. You can’t always shut off the noise, but you can shut it out, at least temporarily, and that has proven to be extremely helpful and healthy for realigning your body, brain and spirit.
Here’s how The Noise Spectrum works: List each noise in your life. Then rank each noise on a 1 to 5 scale, with 1 being the most relevant and 5 being irrelevant. By ranking what noise truly matters, you can eliminate the 4s and 5s from your time commitments and spend your time where it’s most needed. For example, a noisy child who is ill is a 1. A gossipy neighbor’s phone call is likely a 4 or 5.
Using The Noise Spectrum gives us time to recalibrate, re-focus, recharge, regroup after a stressful day, and breathe deeper, allowing more oxygen to get to your brain and body, therefore assisting you in recovery and relaxation. You will have more time to spend with those who truly need and love you, as well as more planning and goal-setting time — the list is endless. Irrelevant noise is like spam in our inbox. It needs to be trashed.
How do we begin shutting out noise that keeps us from hearing our own voice and being our better self? Here are some additional Total Package Professional techniques to assist:
- Shut off Technology: Turn off your smartphone whenever possible. If you must have it on at work to check for relevant phone calls or messages, place it in your desk drawer on mute, and check for messages a couple of times daily. Regarding television or laptop use, establish a time limit, say one or two hours of television or computer per day.
- Maximize bedtime hours: Go to bed earlier. Pick up a book, not the remote control. Lights out early.
- Write It: Take out a journal or notepad and write down every noisy thought that is cluttering your mind — to-dos, fears, unresolved issues. Noise on the notepad and not in your head helps you gain clarity.
- Quiet your Drive Time: Turn off your Ipod, satellite radio and cell phone in the car. Think about your day, what went well, what needs to be improved. Pre-plan what you’ll accomplish tomorrow.
- Visualize Tranquility: Close your eyes. See your peaceful self, relaxing and serene. Notice where you are, what you are wearing, what your environment details are. Go to this place at least once daily.
Practicing these Total Package Professional noise-reducing techniques will help you align your body, brain, and spirit so you can begin to hear your own voice again.