I had an epiphany recently and decided I needed to detox from external input. I turned off my notifications, deleted the Facebook app from my phone & started dumping emails into the trash.
It was one of the best weeks of my life.
See, at some point in the last 6-months I stopped taking my own advice & started overloading on input.
Subscribing to email lists, signing up for webinars, grabbing all the email freebies, following the hell out of everyone on social media with a shiny download…
And sure enough, in short time I became so overloaded and confused that I became completely ineffective.
Not to mention fricking terrified of opening my email.
And I’m typically a bit of an email Nazi – I spend a fair amount of time setting up systems to keep things out of my inbox.
So, if I’m feeling this overwhelmed, I know some of you out there are totally hosed.
Here are five things you can do TODAY to reduce digital overload:
1. Unsubscribe like a crazy person, or get an app to do it for you:
I’ve gotten better at actually unsubscribing to lists, but it can be tedious. I use Unroll.me to add random stuff (mostly purely sales
stuff like Groupon alerts or Creative Market deals) to a daily email “rollup email” or to bulk unsubscribe.
I’ve also heard amazing things about Sane Box but I’ve never used it personally.
2. Use Gmail Filters to Organize Your Emails
I’m a bit of a nerd, and I love to learn so some lists I don’t want to unsubscribe to – but I also don’t want to get 45,000 emails a day in my inbox.
How do you live like that!?
So I set up filters to automatically tag, sort and move emails out of my inbox so I can go in and binge read them later.
This method works better if you don’t have the “promotions” tab enabled in gmail.
3. Turn off notifications on your phone
When I was housesitting in Thailand, the homeowner left his phone at the house. But he didn’t turn off his ringer and the damn thing pinged 28 times a day when he got an email.
I don’t know how you live like this either.
Unless you are a doctor on-call, or a PR assistant that MUST be notified immediately, turn those noises and popups off. It’ll take you a bit of manual labor but its worth it.
Go into your settings and spend 20 minutes turning off any unnecessary notifications.
You can also…
4. Install the freedom app
Visit http://freedom.to to grab the app and install it and you can lock yourself out of social media (or other time suck sites).
Unfortunately, the iPhone app wasn’t working properly with Facebook recently due to an API update, but if you uninstall the FB app from your phone (life changing), it’s a great way to get some uninterrupted time.
Speaking of Facebook…
5. Add friends to lists on Facebook, and Unfollow with abandon
You know you don’t have to see all those updates that your great Aunt Hilda posts about her bunions and bunt cakes, right?
Just click that little wheel on the top right of any of her posts and select “unfollow Hilda” to get a little relief.
And, if you’re like me, you may have noticed that it’s nearly impossible to see anything your actual friends are doing on Facebook anymore because you’re connected to everyone and see 1400 ads a day…
One hack is to add friends to a Facebook list – I have one called “Close Friends” and I periodically peek in to see what’s really important in my peeps lives.
You’ve got to visit everyone’s profile like an old fashioned stalker to even have the option.
Total pain in the arse, but again, your sanity is worth it.
So, a few parting words…
For best results, I recommend hand selecting a half-dozen strangers you trust to really follow and kick everyone else the f*ck out of your inbox and your feeds.
Your sanity will thank me later.
Because even if you only subscribe to lists from people who’re WAY smarter than you, if you try to do what ALL of them say, you’ll end up overwhelmed and confused and probably paralyzed from moving forward with your business, because GAWD FORBID YOU MAKE THE WRONG MOVE.
Case in point…
I actually found myself thinking about quitting my coaching business awhile ago because I got so fricking overloaded with the all the things I “should” be doing to make sales and feeling like I’m clearly a sh*tty marketer because I’m not making 100-million-dollars on every launch like all the other coaches do.
I’d signed up for approximately 18,000 email lists that would get me the 28-figure launch I wanted but alas, I was too paralyzed to do anything.
So when I saw Matthew Kimberley’s Single Malt Mastermind I joined immediately. Matthew’s sales page just rang so true for me in terms of how much work and how much distraction comes with so many coaching programs these days.
If you need help with sales, you should totally join Matthew’s program.
But, imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, I’m totes stealing* the idea and will be creating a similar program for my small business coaching clients soon.
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** Header photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash
Also published on Medium.