This is Lesson One in a series of five on how the five Myths of Modern Life are keeping people overwhelmed.
If you’re interested in busting myths so you can manage overwhelm and have more time to do what matters most to you, click here.
Myth 1: It is important that I follow / keep up with more things than ever and what I must keep up with continues to grow uncontrollably.
This is one of the most insidious myths that has taken hold of society largely due to the advent of the internet, the rise of mobile devices, and the concept of a “24 hour news cycle.” As the amount of information (not necessarily news, or even important information) increases, and our ability to access it becomes more convenient, it is critical to understand that what is truly important is simply a construct of your own mind; your perception determines what’s important and should be followed.
Societal expectations also play a tremendous role in convincing us that many things which are in fact not important at all, “should” and “must” be followed. And while this type of group mentality certainly isn’t new, the speed and manner by which it spreads is now almost instantaneous. This means there’s a never ending stream of new “shoulds” and “musts” that many people feel compelled to keep up with (we’ll get to “why” people are compelled to do this in another myth) and at some point this leads to overwhelm.
By staying in the cycle of trying to keep up with the “shoulds” and “musts” you will perceive that there is more to keep up with and that the list of “shoulds” and “musts” is indeed mushrooming out of control. The fact is the only thing that’s mushrooming is the data itself, not its relative importance.
It’s time to minimize the impact of this myth on your life by making more conscious choices around how you spend your most precious resources which are time and energy. By recognizing that you determine what you should keep up with you can free yourself to focus more on what matters most.
- Make a list of the Top 5 things you absolutely must keep up with every day. What is essential? These can be schedules, news sites, errands, etc., but you can only have 5.
- Write your definition of “news.”
- Make a list of all the websites you visit on a regular basis (at least once a day), how often you visit each of them (estimate if you need), and write a short sentence or two about why you visit each site.
- Where are you spending time and energy that could be used elsewhere by keeping up with things that a) do not meet your definition of “news” and b) are non-essential?
- Choose to not visit three websites of your choice tomorrow and if you’re feeling really bold, delete the bookmarks for those sites from all electronic devices.