In a world where our mental real estate has become the product, where people bump into inanimate objects while scrolling —limiting your inputs is an act of defiance.
And it’s also a superpower and a competitive advantage:
(All of these are crucial to an examined life.)
Surely, one day where you blitz yourself off stimulus of breaking news cycles, group texts or endless scrolling won’t make too much of a difference.
However, compound this behavior across days, weeks, months and years —and you’ve got two radically different lives:
- A shallow life with shrinking attention spans, where you live vicariously through other people’s lives, rarely trust yourself and can’t spend a moment alone.
- A deep, rich and meaningful life, where you’ve done the inner work, developed a potent relationship with yourself and infused your life with creativity.
And the difference between these two lives is not skill, talent or the zip code you grew up in —it’s your ability to limit your inputs.
These days, you can’t ‘wing’ your gameplan to limit your inputs —you must be relentless.
Or else you’ll lose, here’s how:
Delete all notifications.
To limit your inputs requires you to get ahead of the curve —delete every notification you have so you can regain control of your attention span and not be at the mercy of a spammer’s phone call or a college friend’s group texts.
Start the day on Airplane Mode.
How you start the day sets the tone for how you’ll experience it —use Airplane Mode for at least the first 30, 60 or 90 minutes. Personally, I use it for 3 to 4 hours to start my mornings.
There are people on social media who lift you up and inspire you —but there’s others who deliberately share fear-driven media to create a stir. Use the ‘mute’ feature on these platforms to take back your mental real estate.
Have non-negotiable ‘you’ time.
When I work with clients who resist limiting their inputs —we put time on their calendar where they have no other option: a massage, a hike in nature, going to the local float tank. This ‘you’ time is not a luxury, it’s required.
Break the digital communication rules.
You don’t have to respond to a text, email, voicenote, DM or LinkedIn request in one hour, day, or even one week —be willing to break the rules and take the time you need. The right people will ‘get’ it, the wrong people will be triggered.
Face the pain of boredom.
Boredom doesn’t exist in a culture where endless stimulus is a click away —but that’s a problem: boredom is the pre-cursor to creative incubation, insights and powerful reflection. Allow yourself to be bored, stick with it, and watch what happens.
We’ve covered how to limit your inputs —but let me ask you:
- Do you want to be known for scrolling through Instagram or bringing an idea to life?
- Do you want to be known for being a master at Inbox Zero or creating powerful work?
- Do you want to be known for living vicariously through others or making real progress?
The consequences of not limiting your inputs aren’t vague:
They’re your progress.
They’re your creativity.
They’re your fulfillment.
And ultimately —they’re the six inches of mental real estate that are as valuable as anything else…and most people are living their rent-free.
Limit you inputs, or else.