Less is more… in every aspect of life and business!
I’ll admit that my attention span has reduced over the years. When I was younger, I may have been content to read (or write) essays relating to law, or sit through hours of lectures or seminars, or read books and lengthy articles (preferably relating to football!), or watch 3 hour+ films, or queue for hours outside a world famous monument or ride in a theme park. All of these were considered the norm and part of everyday life.
However, our daily lives have changed dramatically in the last 10-15 years. Practically everything now is available instantly at the touch of a button on your phone, whether it be TV shows, games, movies, music, podcasts, YouTube videos, shopping, ordering food etc. There will be countless other things that I have missed or that I may be unaware of. In many ways, the current ‘lockdown’ hasn’t really affected the lives of as many people in the same way it would have done 20 years ago. We can still go about being entertained, keeping active, playing games or catching up with friends and family (albeit virtually).
Why am I writing all of this? It’s not property or business related (yet). Well, the reason I am writing this is because since the lockdown started, I have literally been bombarded with news updates (property and non-property related), updates from landlords’ organisations, requests to join Zoom meetings with property networking groups, links to lengthy videos or webinars to watch relating to how Corona virus is affecting the property market, and lengthy news articles to read. There are also countless people on my social networks who are constantly posting 10+ ‘stories’ every day on Facebook or Instagram. Everything seems to be ‘more, more, more’.
I could spend all day trying to keep up with all this information overload. Frankly, I’ve reached the end of my tether. The last straw was today when I clicked on a link to read an article on The Athletic website (a website with excellent insights and features into all sports). I spent about 10 minutes reading the article on my PC, and then realised that I was barely a third of the way through. That’s when I thought to myself ‘oh sod this, I can’t be bothered reading the rest of it!’.
Maybe I am just a grumpy and miserable old man. I’m sure many people would agree with that sentiment. Or maybe I don’t have the attention span required to keep up with everything going on around me. Whatever the reason, I don't really care. However, I don’t want to be spending hours on end sitting in front of a TV screen watching yet more depressing news, or sitting on Zoom meetings all day long, or watching webinars which don’t really offer anything new that hasn’t already been said plenty of times in other formats. I also don’t want to be reading articles on websites that take half an hour to read. And that’s not even mentioning (a) those people who are constantly posting numerous ‘stories’ on social media (which I just skip over), or (b) those people doing lengthy Facebook Live or Youtube videos where they expect me to spend (or my my view, waste) more than 10 minutes listening to or watching them. Quite simply, I do not want to follow somebody else’s agenda - I would rather focus on what I want to do for myself, my business and my family.
I’ve now set a few rules for myself to follow, to prevent my whole day or week being railroaded watching or listening to other people or watching their ‘stories’ on social media:
Only watch one webinar a week relating to property, with maximum duration of 1 hour
Only attend one Zoom meeting a week relating to property, again with a maximum duration of 1 hour
Do not watch anybody’s social media ‘stories’ if they have posted more than 3 images – anybody that posts more than 5 images in a day on their ‘stories’ is simply skipped
Do not watch any Facebook or Youtube videos which are longer than 10 minutes, unless they are in-depth features which are of particular interest to me and where I gain something productive
Do not read any articles on news or newspaper websites which take longer than 10 minutes to read
Only listen to podcasts whilst doing something else e.g driving, shopping, in the shower etc, and even then the podcast should be no longer than one hour
All of this, for me, is the ‘less is more’ principle in action. I do not want to be spending hours of my life every day following somebody else’s agenda. Likewise, if I do any social media posts, blogs, or YouTube videos, I will not be doing anything which takes more than 10 minutes to read or watch. Too many people just ‘waffle’ on podcasts and videos, and it’s simply wasting my time. Every single blog I have written, and every video that I have put on YouTube (bar one), have been less than 10 minutes to read or watch. Hopefully people can digest it quickly to see whether they are interested in the content or not, rather than wasting their valuable time!
If you work in a corporate environment, I’m sure you’ve had to endure excruciating meetings at work that take far too long and actually achieve nothing! Well, the same is now happening online and on social media, and it’s time to live on your terms rather than somebody else’s! Less is more!