There are a lot of experts out there. A LOT. And maybe some who are not experts at all, but they’ve got something to say. And in fact, they’ve got lots of ideas about what you should do. In this age of information overload, how do you know if it’s wise to do what everyone is telling you to do?
Our digital age has brought with it a rise in the amount of ‘noise’ we deal with every day. The myriad of social media networks, magazines, newspapers, books and videos is overwhelming. I can’t keep up! And I won’t even try.
At every corner we are being informed, advised and sold to. And it gets a bit much.
If you want to know which advice and information you should take, you need to filter out some of the noise.
- Make a point of not watching ads on TV or picking up a tabloid. But be more selective about the avenues of media, news and information you receive.
- If someone you follow on Facebook or Twitter frequently posts remarks that are unsavoury, unfollow them.
- If you keep receiving emails from the same guy who only tries to sell you something you’re not even interested in, unsubscribe.
- Or if you only joined Snapchat cause all your friends are on it, but you don’t ever use it or care for the messages you get on it, delete the app.
- Filter out all the channels that you know off the bat aren’t what you’re about or what you’re interested in.
This is very similar to the decluttering stage of tidying your home and will help to make sense of what everyone is telling you to do.
There are some tools that can help like Sanebox which reduces the number of emails that hit your inbox and compiles everything else into a digest. I use it daily to keep the noise out of my email. I only get really important mail coming to me directly. Everything else is in a daily digest which I quickly review for anything interesting. If I see an email in the digest which I want to ensure goes straight to my inbox, I can train Sanebox to send it there next time in the future. It has really helped me get to Inbox Zero pretty much every day! You can try it for free and even get some money off if you decide you want to keep it when you use my link here.
Or if you subscribe to a lot of newsletters, considering using Unroll Me to help clear out some of the noise. It’s totally free!
2. Know your priorities
When it comes to making decisions it’s crucial to know your priorities. When you are clear about what’s important to you, it’s much easier to put aside the things that aren’t.
Deciding whether to buy that new gadget or spend a day looking through a catalog will be easier when you can see if it aligns with your priorities. If you don’t know what your priorities are, take some time out to figure out what’s most important to you.
- Does this align with my priorities?
- Will this help me in one of my priority areas?
- Can I afford this? Or is there room in my budget for this?
- Do I have time for this? Or what will I need to sacrifice to make time for this? Or is this something I can do in the margins of my time?
I recently had to ask myself these same questions when I was faced with an opportunity to do an amazing course. The course content, structure and teaching looked incredible. And it was definitely something I wanted to do and knew that I needed to. But I didn’t go ahead with it for two reasons; I didn’t have the money for it in my budget and secondly, I didn’t have any time (even in the margins of my life) to devote to the course right now.
However, I know that I will come back to that course in the future when I will have the time for it and hopefully the available funds too! The good thing about stepping away from the course is that I can be intentional about setting aside a budget for it in the future. And even if I decide that I no longer want to do the course, I’d have a lump sum available to put into a vacation pot or spend however I like! So it’s not all bad news!
3. Know your values
Values often inform our priorities and though they may not be goals that we set out to achieve, they are crucial to us living a life of joy and fulfilment. When we live in line with our values, we have a lot more contentment and joy. When you just do what everyone is telling you to do, it really won’t bring you joy, even if you’re a big people pleaser. See this interesting article by Anne Loehr about finding your values.
- Is this important to me?
- Will this matter to me at the end of my life?
- Does this align with any of my values?
4. Seek advice & research
When making decisions, especially big ones, it’s always good to seek advice. Advice never hurt anyone and has saved many from jumping into something they shouldn’t have. Before you jump in, it’s good to get another opinion (or two)!
- PRAY! God cares, hears and knows what’s best for you.
- Ask someone you consider to be knowledgable about it. And whom you can trust to be honest with you (and not just tell you what you’d like to hear).
- Ask those close to you who love you and care about you.
- Do some research of your own. Draw up a list of pros and cons (and pray over and get a second opinion on these too!).
So if you’re stuck wondering whether you should do that thing that everyone is telling you to do, remember to;
- Filter out the noise so you aren’t being swamped by things that won’t help you
- Weigh things up against your priorities
- Measure them against your values and
- Seek advice
Other posts you may be interested in:
- How To Find Your Purpose
- Things That Derail Your Productivity As A Mum
- The #1 Thing Successful People Do