Have you ever pondered the idea that perhaps we weren’t made to know everything at any given moment? In our digital age, we receive instant text and email notifications, 24/7 breaking news updates, minute-by-minute stock market changes, sports scores, and alerts to changes in the weather. And as we navigate a new election season, we have additional noise to sort through.
Some notifications are extremely convenient (like being able to immediately change your commute route because your phone alerted you of an upcoming delay). But for the most part, they can hinder our focus, make us less productive, and increase our stress and anxiety.
How Notifications Are Affecting Your Finances
The way in which information overload and notifications are affecting your finances may not seem obvious at first glance. But once you start practicing mindfulness and becoming more aware of your consumption habits, you’ll start to see the effects in your own life.
- Market updates. Market fluctuations are very common and simply unavoidable. But when you’re receiving up-to-the-minute information, you’re more likely to act impulsively and emotionally, overtrade, and ignore your long-term investment strategy.
- Social media notifications. These can distract you and lure you into impulse purchases because of ads or an influencer’s new raving review of a product or service. They can also cause you to feel dissatisfied and lonely, leading you to make impulsive purchases.
- Sales emails. One simple email notification and all of a sudden you’re adding a new product to your digital cart or signing up for a new subscription. These semi-mindless purchases can cause you to overspend and make unnecessary purchases.
- Credit card and loan offers. These can pop up seemingly out of nowhere and cause you to overextend your credit, hindering your financial progress and increasing your spending temptations.
Personal finance success depends a lot on disciplined decision-making and strong, intentional habits—both of which can be affected by noise in the news and constant notifications.
5 Ways to Break Free and Tune Out the Noise
Learning to tune out the noise will be easier if you set yourself up for success by implementing a few key habits such as:
- Being mindful of your news consumption habits.
- Setting up appropriate notifications.
- Having solid financial goals.
- Setting aside time to mindfully engage the news.
- Regularly educating yourself in a meaningful way.
These can be implemented quite quickly if you’re dedicated to making some changes and have the right mindset and motivation.
1. Being mindful of your media consumption habits.
Start by simply noticing how many notifications you receive and how much time you spend on your screens—most devices will show you these statistics in the settings. The average smartphone user in the United States receives 46 push notifications per day. That’s more than two notifications per waking hour.
Along with the volume of notifications you receive, it’s important to note how you feel after receiving notifications. Do you get a sense of dread? Feel disappointed or scared? Do you act impulsively after reading a headline or seeing a social media post?
Finding a healthy balance with technology can take time, but it’s absolutely worth the effort. After you mindfully notice how much media you currently consume, you can move on to building more healthy habits.
2. Setting up appropriate notifications.
We’re all for using technology to make our lives easier and that can include setting up appropriate notifications so that you don’t forget to perform certain tasks. Some notifications are truly necessary and can help save you from unfortunate consequences.
Consider setting up meaningful notifications such as:
- Alerts when your bank account balance gets too low.
- Periodic appointment reminders when it’s time to schedule an appointment with your financial advisor.
- Reminders to pay quarterly taxes if you’re self-employed.
Consider silencing these notifications:
- Email alerts—it’s unlikely you need to see every email preview the moment it arrives in your inbox, consider checking all of your inboxes only at certain times of day.
- Social media updates.
- Clickbait news headlines.
- Group chat messages.
Spend some time curating your notification settings for each app and only allow what truly benefits you to remain.
3. Having solid financial goals.
When you have intentional and meaningful financial goals, it will be easier for you to ignore sensational headlines and constant news updates. You’ll feel confident in your financial plan and be able to navigate news and media in a healthy way.
Having solid financial goals also helps you make informed decisions based on your goals, rather than impulsive decisions. If you do come across something that you’re interested in or concerned about, jot it down and bring it up at your next meeting with your financial advisor. When you have a long-term investment strategy, there’s no need to chase after a hot tip or new idea right away.
4. Setting aside time to mindfully engage the news.
We certainly don’t think you need to be a hermit—staying up to date on popular news stories helps you increase your knowledge, stay informed, and be able to engage others in conversation.
However, there are certain times of the day, like the hour after you wake up in the morning and the hour before you go to bed, that you should keep sacred and free from distractions and notifications. These appropriate boundaries can help your mind stay focused and your emotions in check.
An occasional media detox can also help you refocus and “reset” your mind so that you can return to your media habits in a healthy way.
5. Regularly educating yourself in a meaningful way.
Another way to break free from the noise while still receiving the information you need is to commit to reading or listening to reputable sources of information. Perhaps there’s an author you really like to read, a businessman you like to follow, or even a helpful monthly newsletter from your favorite financial firm you like to engage with.
Like desserts that don’t serve our bodies well, sometimes we choose to intake the dessert of the information world—it comes quickly and easily, but it doesn’t serve our minds well. Conversely, taking in quality, educational, and trusted information can help our minds grow.
Fight the Noise and Stay Focused with Five Pine Wealth Management
When you have a personalized financial plan, your goals, concerns, and desires are all taken into consideration. When you partner with a firm that truly cares about your financial future, you can learn to tune out the noise of the outside world because you have a plan you’re excited about and committed to.
At Five Pine Wealth Management, we help you with risk management, wealth building and preservation, retirement and estate planning, and financial behavior modifications. Sometimes you need to get out of your own head (and your phone) and connect with someone who is excited and dedicated to your success.
To see how we can help you thrive in your finances, reach out to us today! We’re excited to meet you! Give us a call at 877.333.1015 or email us at email@example.com.