The holidays are a beautiful time of year. We are invited to slow down and spend time with family and friends. Stories of love and giving are everywhere we look. We are reminded at this time that every day throughout the year, we are blessed.
But, as we enter the final month of the year and the holiday season quickly approaches, our days get shorter, our task list gets longer and the demands on our time often result in us feeling overwhelmed. Cold weather is approaching and threatening open construction sites. Clients are looking to wrap up projects before the holidays and often become less responsive as their own schedules fill up with their own responsibilities. As much as we try to stop and enjoy the season, there is no doubt that its also a time of stress and anxiety.
A Radical Change
More than 3 years ago, I committed to a radical change in my life. At the time I was very interested in politics and followed every move our leaders made in Washington, DC. I watched TV news, listened to talk radio and read many of the blogs available on the subject. It was a major part of my life every day. I wanted to know what was happening and how it was going to effect my life. How would it effect the lives of my family and friends?
Around the same time, I was running a residential architecture firm in full “survivor mode” and growing this blog in the early days of its rebirth as a platform dedicated to inspiring small firm architects to build better businesses.
It was a very stressful period of my life and I need to do something about it.
If I wanted to succeed in business and in life; as an entrepreneur, as an architect, as a husband and a dad, I needed to focus. I was granted only 168 hours each week, no more and no less. What I did with those hours would determined my success and my future?
Setting a New Standard
I set a new standard in my life. If there was something that was worrying me or adding to my already stressful life… and I had no direct control over that thing, I needed to remove it. Why would I spend time and effort and brainpower on anything not within my control? If I redirected those hours to things that made my life better and helped to improve the lives of others, what then could I accomplish?
My obsession with politics was the first to go. An all-out addiction to news media negatively effected my life in so many ways. It added to my stress, it frustrated me and it took away precious hours of my day. Those are hours that I could never recover. Regardless of how happy, sad or angry I became over the mess I saw in my government, there was nothing I could do to change any of it (except to vote in every election). None of my attention to these issues could directly effect the success I experienced in my own personal life.
News media has become so dependent on ratings that we are only presented news on events that will make us angry or sad. The 24 hour news cycle requires that airtime be filled every hour of the day. Stories that are not full of sensational, emotion-baiting content do not receive the attention required to attract prominent advertisers. This cycle is destroying the fabric of our society, dividing us and was negatively effecting me personally in my business, my leadership and my life.
So I shut it all off.
No print news. No TV media. No talk radio. No political blogs. I declared a Full Media Blackout and I never looked back.
A Challenge to You
Starting today, I challenge you to go “cold turkey” (that’s a little Thanksgiving humor for you) and declare your own person Full Media Blackout. No print news. No TV media. No radio news or commentary. No internet news.
I challenge you to a Full Media Blackout until the new year, January 1, 2016.
If you can’t directly control it. Turn in off. Remove it from your day. Reclaim those hours for more productive activities in your life.
Focus on the things that matter most. Take the time you spend watching, listening and worrying and apply those hours to a specific project that will improve your life and the lives of those around you.
Don’t worry… if the world comes to an end, someone will surely let you know.
I suspect after a few weeks of abstaining from watching the daily “death report”, you will feel better, you will get more done and you will achieve the success you always desired.
Question: Will you commit to a Full Media Blackout until January 1, 2016 (and beyond)?