Background noise: Turn up the volume or whisper something significant?

May 6, 2014
Turning down the information overload

The time of internet firsts is over. I don't remember the first email, the first web page, the first email newsletter, the first tweet, the first Facebook post, the first, the first ... and the list goes on and on. I just don't remember any of them.

This weekend, I was reading a fun non-fiction book titled The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England. This history book reads like a travel guide to a foreign destination. The book describes medieval life through the lens of our modern experience.

This got me thinking about the reverse: What would a fourteenth century traveler find in our work life? I suggest the first thing they would point out is information overload.

Too much information

There is so much information in my life that I have been on a quest to declutter. Over the years, I have curated a list of resources that helps me answer questions, that teaches me what I didn't know I needed to know, that guides me and creates good habits and patterns in my work and personal life.

Lately, however, this has changed.

There is too much—too many emails, too many newsletters, too many websites, too much Facebook, too many great people to follow on Twitter. There is too much.

I've been on a crusade over the last few months to quiet the noise. I'm switching from push to pull. Instead of allowing anything to push in front of me. I'm muting everything and switching to a system where I know where to go when I have a question.

I have unsubscribed from newsletters, unfollowed people on Twitter, hidden Facebook feeds from distant acquaintances—I'm working to reduce the overload.

Conclusion?

As I work with clients, my goal is to help them break through this noise and clutter. Every message needs to be provided with laser focus, every message has a disadvantage—it needs to overcome background noise to be received.

I like to stay positive. I don't like when things get preachy. I don't have the answers ... I'm just seeking the balance for myself.

I would love to hear from you. What do you do, especially in the world of websites and marketing to declutter and to be heard over the noise in our culture?

[Image: Michal Dońćekal]