There is a lot of noise in the world.
A lot of distraction.
It doesn’t seem like it will disappear any time soon, either. It’s probably going to increase.
Technology has allowed entrepreneurs to fight for people’s attention and time. Several decades ago, radio would fight for attention. Then TV did the same. In the last 10 years it’s been Facebook earning all kinds of attention.
When the new season of Stranger Things comes out on Netflix they earn tons of attention from loving fans. Some will binge the entire season in one sitting (you know who you are…).
There is a lot that can take our attention today. But if you’re looking to create content for a blog or podcast or video series of whatever, the answer to doing it better might be in creating quiet time for yourself.
What Is Quiet Time?
My generation came of age at an interesting time in history. I was born in 1984 and lived most of my childhood without cable TV and without the Internet. And really without video games.
I had friends with cable and video games, but for the most part my childhood was pretty free from distraction. I would spend time with friends in the neighborhood. Sports was a big thing. Riding bikes was a big thing. So was fishing in the nearby lake.
There was a lot of quiet time. Both with friends and without. I remember fishing with a good friend for hours at a time and barely saying a word. We didn’t catch a lot of fish, but just watched the world go by.
I don’t know what my friend was doing with that quiet time, but I was thinking about life. What I wanted. Crazy ideas for crazy things. Sometimes just wondering about weird stuff like how fish breathed under water or why the neighbor seemed to like Camaros so much.
When Did It Change?
My family got the Internet (thanks, AOL) around 2000. I was in high school. It definitely made an impact, but not a huge one. I still made time for doing nothing. Just having quiet time.
When I went to college I would spend more time on the Internet. But the biggest change was in the late 2000s when the smartphone came out.
The biggest change I noticed was around email. Before the smartphone, most people in the office would open email at work and close it when they left. After the iPhone came out, though, we started receiving emails at all hours of the day.
Before the phone, Facebook was just something you checked once in awhile at home on your computer. But it quickly became something you checked every hour and sometimes even more often with your phone.
Shutting Off To Create More
It’s not the phone’s fault for creating distraction. It’s simply exposed something that we crave. Seeing messages from friends makes us feel good. Seeing new content in a feed makes us feel good.
But it’s not quiet time. Even if you’re sitting on the couch in the literal quiet looking at your phone, your brain is not in quiet. It’s actually very busy.
If you’re looking to create better content, like with a blog, you need to shut off the tech and specifically the phone.
When you shut off everything and allow yourself to sit in the quiet your brain starts to do weird things. You start pondering weird stuff. This weird stuff often leads to the best ideas for blog posts. You also start thinking about how you write and how you can write better. Maybe you realize that you make a particular mistake often.
Here is the cool thing, you can find quiet time while doing other things. Walking. Chopping wood. Yard work. All kinds of stuff. One thing I used to do all the time when I was new to high school was hit chip shots around the yard. I would do it for hours. After a summer of doing that I made the golf team.
One of my favorite activities today is still to go in the yard and chip around for an hour. No phone. No distraction. Just quiet time. Maybe it’s my form of meditation.
One of the biggest challenges with blogging is finding inspiration. Inspiration often comes from the quiet time you spend with yourself. Quiet time also allows you to analyze yourself. What you want. What you’re good at. What you’re not good at. Who you want to write for. All kinds of things.
If you want better results from your blog, schedule more time to just exist in the quiet time that is lacking today.