Tune Out The Noise.

Friday nights are terrible for emails.
Don't do what I'm doing here.
Try to keep your emails earlier in the week.

I'm sending this with you in mind.
It's a gift for you.

I have a lot I want to share with you.
Last night was the start.

This email is about the merry go round
of online noise in your life.

I have some some ideas
on how to tune it out.

But getting rid of something
gets you to zero on the number line.
I'm going to try to give you
something good in its place.

How does the merry go round start?

First you get distracted
and then people try to sell you
the cure for distractions.

Timers, browser extensions, apps..
Designed to keep you
from accessing the internet
at certain times.
To keep you moving
from project to project.

Meanwhile, teams of scientists
and marketers have meetings
on how they can weaken your resolve.
I'm one of those marketers - sorry in advance! :)

Your Ad Blocker gets mean looks
when it visits some websites now.

"How long can we
keep you on a web site?"
"Hey you moved your mouse
in a non buying direction - don't go!" 
Cue the exit pop up.
Start the abandoned cart sequence.

The spam filters work overtime
trying to protect you.
You're forced to scan quickly...
is this email valuable - yes or no?

The real trap is tuning things out
and looking for what
you think is valuable.

Imagine going to a library
and flinging books
on the floor every 10 seconds
trying to find one
that stands out for you.

How do you escape
the attention trap?
Chain yourself
to your desk?

You escape the trap by
not always having
a preset idea
of what's valuable
and what's not.

If you know value
when you see it,
then it has to look like
something you already have.
Aka "confirmation bias."

Once in a while,
something off the charts great will sneak in.

But unless your filters are lowered,
you're going to be stuck looking at
the same 7 tips for years to come
every time you come up for air.

I keep my line width short for mobile. 
But I try to steer clear of the perpetual
5 and 7 tips angle.

"5 Ways To..."

If it can be explained in 7 tips,
you're probably not
getting life changing insights.
So the more digestible
you demand
your learning to be,
the less you end up learning.

I know - I read the same things.
Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter - keep it short, etc.

I'm going to go on a limb here
and say the best conversations
you ever had were long ones.

The best experiences
you had learning something
probably had frustrating moments.
You didn't get it right away. You had doubts.

If you read Might Like,
you know I love
next generation tech.
Can't get enough of it.

Just to make one issue of Might Like
can have me looking at hundreds of articles
so I can share a handful of them with you.

The more tabs you have open
in Chrome, the smaller they get.
I have little dots for browser tabs
across the top of my screen.

But as much as I love tech,
I don't love it enough
to betray my own voice.

You may not like your cable company
but you like having cable.
So you might have to deal
with bad customer service.

Same thing with tech.
Some tech you have to use to reach people.
If you have to shorten something to fit guidelines,
that's what you have to do.

But there's a line you have to draw.
I can't tell you where that line is.
But if you're miserable doing something, don't do it.

Especially tech
for communication.
If you tell me to shorten what I say
to fit your platform,
that's like a friend
telling me how to speak.
The platform is a vehicle - not your boss.

Obviously common sense applies.
If you're working on something
that pays your bills,
take that into account before
you make any moves.
Create alternatives.

There's a way of thinking
that says you shouldn't work
on things you love.
It should just be about making money.
I'm not one of those people at all.

I don't think it's rocket science hard
to make money, be happy, 
keep true to your voice
and not lose sight of the metrics
of your business.

It's just extra work.
I think it's worth it.

You can tune out a lot of noise
by making some of your own.

So what's that weird looking electrical thing
with holes in the picture above?

That is the Marpac 980A
Dual Speed Sound Conditioner.
It's an industrial strength white noise machine.
Marpac has been making white noise machines
for the past 50 years.

I have them in multiple rooms.
I used to live in a busy city
and then I moved to a quiet town.
I thought it would be great.
Until I tried to sleep or write.

Birds chirping away in the backyard..
House making random noises..

Must. Stop. It.

I love music but I don't like it on when I write.
The rhythms infect the cadence.
Or if it's a sad song,
suddenly my copy gets a little melancholy.

The last thing I need is Coldplay in my headline.

I tried all the nature audios.
Friends gave me noise machines
with babbling brooks,
ocean waves and chirping birds.

Just awful for me.
So I went and bought
the ugliest looking machine
I've ever seen.

Turned it on and all the
distracting sounds faded away.


You have to find ways to stay focused.
I use a white noise machine myself.
Just don't let staying focused
or bossy platforms 
drown out your own voice.

Instead of wearing
spam filter blinders
and stopwatch chains
trying to block things out,
decide what you're trying to let in first.

Then you can start tuning out the noise
and start making more of your own.

Robert Gibson