"Managing the Noise in Our Lives"

This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA

Walking into a store like Best Buy can be a sensory overload trip. The bright lights, the loud noises, and the sheer number of people can be too much to take in. Additionally, there are TVs everywhere, all displaying different channels playing at different volumes. Focusing on anything in a store like Best Buy can be challenging with so many distractions. 

Where am I going with this? I often use this Best Buy metaphor in coaching sessions because sometimes the feeling we have in Best Buy is the feeling we have in our brains as we go through life.

The TVs of Life

We have many things going on in our lives: work, school, relationships, family, hobbies, errands, etc. It's hard to keep track of it all. The TVs in Best Buy represent the different things happening in our lives. The different channels represent the various demands on our time and attention. The different volumes represent the varying levels of importance we assign to these demands. 

Despite the difficulty it entails, creating peace and quiet from the multitude of TVs is within our control. We can manage the volume of our mental TVs by turning down the volume on the things that are not vital and focusing on the things that are. We can set daily goals and schedule micro-breaks, and time for mindfulness and gratitude. 

It's not always easy, but it's worth it. When we create mental space, we're better able to focus, be productive, and enjoy life.

How do we create mental space?

Set TODAY goals, not "to do” goals. Ask yourself: What do I want to accomplish? What do I need to focus on? Once we know what we want to achieve, we can start to make a plan. A TODAY list serves as a road map, helping our brain know what's next. 

Remember to schedule time for mindfulness or gratitude. This could be as simple as taking a few minutes each day to sit quietly and breathe or focus on what you're grateful for.

When we do these things, we're creating mental space. We're giving our brains a chance to rest and recharge. And we're making it easier to focus on the things that matter most.

Tips for setting an intention for your day and developing action steps to follow through:

  1. Start by clarifying what is essential for today. Use a Post-it note to focus on your daily goals. It is a simple but effective way to stay motivated and on track. The size of a Post-it note is ideal for your TODAY list because it is small and easy to see. It can be placed in a visible place, such as on your desk or your mirror, so you are constantly reminded of your goals. The small size of the Post-it note also forces you to be concise in your writing, which can help you to focus on the most important things.
  2. Be specific about your goals. The more specific you are, the easier it will be to stay on track.
  3. Break your goals down into smaller steps. This will make them seem less daunting and more achievable.
  4. Set deadlines for yourself. This will help you to stay motivated and on track.
  5. Prioritize your goals. Not all goals are created equal. Some are more important than others. Prioritize your goals so that you know which ones to focus on first.
  6. Track your progress throughout the day. This will help you see how you're doing and adjust as needed.
  7. Celebrate the process and your accomplishments!

It is also important to:

  • Set aside time each day to draft and review your TODAY list. This will help you to stay focused and on track.
  • Delegate tasks when possible. If you can delegate tasks, do so. This will free up your time to focus on the most critical tasks.
  • Take breaks. Taking breaks throughout the day is essential, especially if you're overwhelmed. Get up and move around or take a few minutes to relax and clear your head.
  • Feel free to ask for help. If you're feeling overwhelmed, don't be afraid to ask for help from a friend, family member, or colleague.

The next time you feel overwhelmed by the noise in your life, remember the TVs of Best Buy. Remember that you can control the noise. You can turn down the volume on the things that don't matter and focus on the things that do. Once the volume is down and only one channel is being played, you can focus on what's important.

With gratitude,

Ana Isabel Sánchez