Cell phones continuously ring, beep or notify us of incoming calls, messages, appointments and reminders. Email has its various noises. TV noise is all around us at home, in airports, in gyms and waiting rooms. Sirens, horns, people talking.
To some extent, the brain is able to shut out the noise. But that takes effort, which consumes brain fuel, and eventually wears us out. After a day of noise we can find ourselves exhausted, without really understanding why.
Worse, all this noise distracts us from focusing on our tasks and pursuing our goals. If you want to succeed in accomplishing your goals and ultimately realizing your dreams, you need to shut down the noise.
On a recent episode of Follow the Leader, Farnoosh Torabi interviewed John Paul Dejoria, the co-founder of Paul Mitchell Systems and Patron Tequila. Dejoria admitted that he did not use email because he felt it would be too much of a distraction. Dejoria, in fact, avoids computers entirely so that he can focus on building his billion dollar empire.
While Dejoria is an extreme example of successful individuals who shut down the noise, there are certain strategies I uncovered in my five-year Rich Habits study that millionaires use to help them tune out the noise of life:
- Early morning isolation for 2-3 hours – Wake up 2-3 hours before your workday begins and find your quiet place to get things done. Those things should be directly related to your goals and dreams.
- Turn off your email – Many of the self-made millionaires in my study ignored their email for most of the day. They blocked off 30 – 45 minutes twice a day to check and respond to email. Otherwise, they just ignored it.
- Don’t answer the phone – Same logic as with the emails here. Block off time during the day to respond to and make phone calls. Otherwise ignore your phone most of the day.
- Wear ear plugs or noise cancelling headsets – I have become an ear plug enthusiast. Wearing ear plugs at night allows me to get a good nights sleep. Wearing ear plugs during certain parts of the day when I need to really focus, helps to drown out the office noise. I’ve noticed more and more people, especially on airplanes, wearing those noise cancelling headsets while they get some work done on the plane ride.
- Find your quiet place – Recent neurological studies on peak performance found that the brain cycles every 90-120 minutes. After this timeframe, the brain tires and operates inefficiently. Researchers found that a 20 minute rest break after each 90-120 minute cycle restores the brain’s normal functioning. Rest breaks could be a simple as a 20 minute walk, closing your eyes, or putting those ear plugs in for 20 minutes while you recharge.