Driven to Distraction

"Self Portrait 157" by Shovona Karmakar

Bliss for Business

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"Self Portrait 157" by Shovona Karmakar
“Self Portrait 157” by Shovona Karmakar

Without a doubt, the biggest impact so far from my three weeks away has been an unsubscribe spree. Newsletters, Facebook pages, Twitter followers. Delete, delete, delete.

And not because I have a sudden desire for a clean inbox (although it’s certainly a nice bonus.) It’s because I spent almost a month without these information sources – and didn’t miss a single one of them.

If you’ve hung out on the internet long enough (I’m going on 20 years here – eep!), had the same email address long enough, you know there are all sorts of things that land in your inbox that you automatically delete. Coupons from that place you shopped at once. Special offers that don’t really apply to you. It’s not spam, really (it’s called bacn, actually – nice little pun, no?), but it’s taking valuable time out of your day. Ditto for offers from Facebook pages, for Twitter streams that you just filter out of skim past.

In my case, though, my inbox also had a nasty case of the “should”s. I should be subscribed to this because it’s a big name. I should get these updates even though I’m getting the same information across all three (sometimes four) platforms. I should read this because my clients might.

The signal-to-noise ratio was way too high.

Distractions from what’s really important

The time I spent skimming, clearing, deleting, reading things I thought I “should”, was time I could have focused back on my business. Into the free workshop I’m creating. Into building new awesome things. Into opening up another client spot. Spending time with my sweetie. Going for a hike.

Instead, these were distractions from what is really important.

What does your time mean to you?

Every moment of every day, you get to choose how to spend your time. You get to choose the value of that time. Think about the places you spend your time, the things you read, the exchanges you make. Are they worth your presence, your attention, your energy? Or are you doing the things you think you “should”, when better and more valuable options are available to you?

What does other people’s time mean to you?

On the other side of things, of course, is the point of view of content creators, which so many of us in business are these days. When you create something, when you publish a new post, a new newsletter, what are you doing to make it worth the reader’s while? Are you giving them something worth embracing, worth their full presence and attention for the few minutes it takes? Are you providing signal, or just noise?

Share your thoughts!

What are you doing to improve your signal-to-noise ratio, or to make it worth someone’s while? Share with us in the comments!

Danielle NelsonHi! I’m Dani. I’m a writer, teacher, business coach, and signal-booster, and I’m on a mission to help you make your business more awesome, more successful, and more you. (With tea. Tea is always good.)

Join me for resources, wicked wisdom, and other good things at!

6 thoughts on “Driven to Distraction

  1. Choosing how I spend every minute of every day. Taming the signal-to-noise ratio. Love this!

    I keep tweaking my own ratio. Setting aside sacred reading/commenting/content creation/sharing time. And then stopping and moving on to the other sacred hours of my day. Serving my clients, serving my healing, showing up in love and peace.

    Thank you for this beautiful reminder…

    Love and light,

    • You’ve got it, Sue – keep tweaking! The tweaking is, after all, the important bit – each day as we move through life, our priorities shift in imperceptible ways. We have to be willing to make changes to that signal-to-noise ratio when the shifts become perceptible. 🙂

  2. Kathy says:

    This is great Dani! When I subscribe to things I add them to “relevant folders” which in time becomes “I’m ignoring you too!” I have a very tidy inbox as a result but I’m thinking I might avail myself of that delete button too… truly sounds liberating!

    And welcome back! I’m glad your trip was so wonderful!

    • Thanks, Kathy! I’d like to invite you to think about the weight of those “relevant folders” – are they things you look forward to getting back to? Or is it more stuff you need to get to? Lifting you up vs. dragging you down. 🙂

      • Kathy says:

        If I thought about them at all they would be weight. I occasionally go back when I am interested in finding something interesting to read. I keep them only because they once piqued my interest and I’ve thought if I have time I’d like to take a closer look… that time rarely comes so it really might be better to hit delete. Honestly if I do, I’ll never miss any of it! They definitely don’t feel like they are dragging me down but getting rid of them may prove otherwise… I feel a delete frenzy coming… thanks!!

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