There's no longer a need to wait for anything. We live in a world of ‘infinites’. Infinite information: books, podcasts, emails, texts, Instagram, Facebook, and an unending supply of TV and music.
So, what's next? How should I focus my time? How can I be at 100% in everything I do?
This isn't about striving for perfection. It's about making deliberate choices rather than taking the most travelled path. This distinction is critical because the most travelled path is riddled with noise. It's a path driven by outdated needs.
And it seems everyone knows how to exploit these needs. Everything is engineered to capture and hold your attention for as long as possible.
So, what's next?
Here are five ways to cultivate awareness and exert control over how we spend our time:
- Be Alert: In "Thinking, Fast and Slow" Kahneman underscores our mental vulnerability when fatigued. Ensuring we"re doing the right things—sleeping, moving, eating well—to feel 100% will put us in a more resilient state of mind. This enables us to engage our System 2 thinking, leading to more informed and intelligent decisions.
- Pause and Ask: This may seem trivial, but how often have we regretted spending hours on something we don't objectively value? I say "objectively" because, subjectively, we might. Training ourselves through cues to stop, pause, and ask, "What am I doing?" can begin to slow the momentum.
- Brainstorm Desired Feelings: Regardless of our outlook on life, we can agree that our experiences have shaped us—they've molded our thoughts and feelings. Feelings won't change overnight, but our thoughts can. Brainstorm changes you want to make that don't yet feel good but are desired. It could be as simple as going to bed 30 minutes earlier. Resistance is a sign you're on the right track.
- Choose One New Habit: The world is unfairly running our show, making it difficult to act differently. One method to rewire our brains to think ‘different’ is to act different. Select an aspect of your life to evolve and pick the smallest nudge toward change. Then, track it. Pick just one. Start with two weeks—that's a manageable period that can generate enough momentum for success. Having a 'habit buddy' significantly increases our chances of success.
- Pause Again: This isn't just a game of productivity; it's about effectiveness. We aim to be more effective with our loved ones, our leisure, and our vocations. Pausing, even without a specific goal in mind, disrupts the continuous blind flow of life. Because, as we often say...
Pause. Breathe. And then, Quiet the Noise.