Every day we are bombarded with information. It can be difficult to wade through this sea of data and pick out the material that means anything to us. Of course, it doesn’t help that the existence of 24-hour news channels, social media outlets, and the scuttlebutt around the water cooler make it difficult to avoid.
So how do we filter all the noise and get only the information we really need? I’ll offer a few suggestions that have worked for me. Perhaps they can help you.
Turn off the news. This was one of the biggest mood lifters and time savers that helped me. I made this decision about 4 months ago and decided to make a conscious effort to not watch the morning and evening news. I also cancelled my newspaper subscription (it wasn’t that great anyway).
Consider reducing or elimination your social media usage. This can be hard to do, given the fact that social media engages areas of the brain that encourage rewards as well as addiction. Start slow by turning your phone off at night or other times, or only allow yourself a specific time frame to be on social media. For the biggest impact, consider eliminating it altogether.
Most news is sensationalized – designed to lure watchers and readers to sell more ad space. This is especially true when it comes to news about the markets. Most days market news is uneventful. Generally, the media will sensationalize an event in order to make headlines and try to explain why the market behaved in a certain way.
For example, when you hear the phrase, “The market plunged 400 points today”, it sounds dire, but it’s just noise. The market moved just 1.5%. But 1.5% doesn’t sell; a 400-point plunge does. Ignore the noise.
Look at the news like I did when I was a kid – boring. If it’s truly important, you’ll find out about it. When it comes to noise around the markets, keep in mind your goals, time horizon, and plan for your money. The rest is noise.
The same is true with social media. Most of what you see is noise – a “friend” or colleague posting what they did that day to keep up with the Jones’s. Consider filtering out the information that really matters. Use the extra time to spend with your family, building relationships, enhancing your life. Focus on the things you can control, and you can free up time to do things that will bring you and others joy, less stress, and better quality of life.
Ignore the noise.