Five Ways to Fight Communication Overload

Iphone notifications

How big are the notification numbers on your app icons? (The numbers you see on the photos in this post are REAL, bless the hearts of the folks who were willing to share them for my use. Names withheld of course. :)

We are inundated with all kinds of communication everyday, to the point where it can become overwhelming. Here are five tips to cut down on the noise.

Purge your email. Periodically consider whether you really need that weekly email newsletter. For example, in the past, I tried jumping into the couponing pool. I’ve come pretty much right back out (that’s another topic.) In the process of trying it, I ended up subscribing to several sites and then hardly looking at the deals. Time to unsubscribe from a lot of them.

“But Beth, what if you miss out on a deal?” I miss out on deals all the time. I can always find the sites later, or bookmark them into a “saving money” folder so if I get the urge to do something like eat out or some other fun activity, or have something specific I need to buy, I can research sales and coupons then.

Turn off notifications. If you are active on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, adjust your settings so you are only getting notifications for things that really interest you. These days, it’s easy for people to add you to groups, and if you don’t have settings adjusted to your preference, you could have long lists of notifications or emails of when someone posted in that group. I’ve recently done this myself for Facebook groups that I want to remain part of, without being reminded every time someone posts there.

Also consider adjusting notifications on your cell phone. If you use a phone that lets you see email, it may be best you may not need to have a sound or icon come up every time a new email comes in. You can check it when you want once or twice a day.iphone

Be cautious about your cell phone. Many of you may be using a cell phone exclusively rather than a land line. In that case, you really don’t have much choice about  giving out your number. But if you still have a home phone and a cell phone, be cautious about giving out your cell phone number too widely. We already deal with lots of interruptions in life and extra calls may not be necessary in the middle of your days.  Some time ago, I gave my cell phone number out to a business I was calling to inquire about something for a client. We decided not to go in that direction, but unfortunately I occasionally receive calls hoping we will be interested in something currently offered. Thankfully these have subsided, but it makes me realize I can be even more selective about who gets my cell phone number. I could’ve given my land line number which also acts as my business main line. (I’m now able to have the landline forward to my cell phone without giving out the actual cell number.)

Use voice mail. Many messages can be handled by a simple voice mail–both leaving one and receiving one. You don’t have to answer every call right away (same goes for email.) Let the phone go to VM if you are in the middle of something that needs focus such as driving or meeting with a friend. Really. It will be okay!

Use “do not mail” and “do not call” lists. From time to time, check the national “do not mail” and “do not call” lists and get your name off of junk mail and telemarketing lists. Now, if you enjoy getting coupons, catalogs, samples, or other pieces of mail, so be it. But if you want to simplify–these services can help you out.

[Tweet “What one thing can you do today to cut down on communication overload?”]

Engage: What one thing can you do to cut down your communication noise today?

Benefit from: Combine your email subscriptions into one daily “newspaper” with Unroll.me.

Revisit: One way to stay uncluttered in life is to say “No” occasionally. Here’s how to do so graciously.
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Beth Beutler is the Executive Director of H.O.P.E. Unlimited, a small business offering collaborative virtual assistance and business soft skill education to Help Overwhelmed Professionals Excel. She has over 25 years experience in administrative assistance and office management, soft skills training, and writing.

Comment Policy: I love hearing your thoughts and input on what I write. Since I write about what I'm learning, observing and discerning, I'm sure we may disagree sometimes. Whether you agree or disagree with a viewpoint or suggestion from me or another person who comments, please post your thoughts in a way that keeps the dialog gracious. Thank you.

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