Stop the Noise

Scrolling on phone

Do you ever take a step back and realize how noisy our lives have become? No matter where we live – in the city, suburbs, or out in the countryside, our lives have become noisier and noisier in the past few decades, as mobile phone apps have taken over the tiny brick-sized devices in our pockets.

By noise I mean distraction. By the constant updating and relaying information that has become the news scene, the constant emailing back and forth, messaging friends, family, and work colleagues (hello, Slack), our phones and devices are as much of a hindrance as they are a help. With becoming more distracted, more "busy", and having more in the palm of your hand, we're sabotaging ourselves without even realizing it. By parsing out what’s necessary versus what you have, life can return to its simpler roots.

Without even meaning to, I made today a lovely noise-free day by waking up and focusing on the tasks at hand - gym, wedding planning, napping, meal prepping, and catching up with my fiancee. For a few hours, I forgot about my phone at all. Today may be an outlier, but I hope to make it a routine on Sundays. I feel calmer and ready to start the week with a clear plan on what I should focus on.

This noise has been the new normal – getting pinged with emails (mostly spam), texts (from only a few), and reminders I’ve set myself during work hours. In fact, it wasn’t until I moved offices to a spot with no WiFi that I’ve started putting my phone on airplane mode and putting it in my purse. Though this decision was mostly made with my data limit in mind, I've noticed an uptick in work productivity already.

This weekend, I was reading, and the protagonist made the comment, “I think better with Merlot.” I imagined the protagonist sitting in an armchair, lights low, Merlot in hand, staring into space. Then I started thinking about how I’ve always liked to think – lights low, in a comfy spot on the couch, staring off into space. Yet I can’t remember the last time I’ve actually sat and thought, wine in hand, with no distractions. I’m either reading articles, writing, have a book in hand, or watching TV – which is probably why I’ve been off lately.

We need time to think without distractions. To dream, to plan, to plot, to wander and wonder. Some people take hikes in woods, others go on retreats, and some just like to stay home, nursing a glass of Merlot. So stop the noise, and pick your thinking place – you just might be surprised by the result.