Signals and Noise (Part 4)

We’ve talked about cutting down on noise. But how about boosting the signal?

The past few days we’ve discussed the signal-to-noise ratio as a way to understand why we get so distracted. It’s the ratio of meaningful information to irrelevant data. It’s the ability to hear a radio-station’s programming above the static background.

And there’s a lot of noise in our lives—diversions that make it hard to hear what’s important. So one way to enhance the ratio is to reduce the noise, by having a quiet space or using un-networked computers. But the other way to improve things is to amplify the signal.

You can do this with a time-budget; you can do this with a checklist, to identify your priorities—listing your P1s, 2s, and 3s. Some weeks there’s only one P1 on the list. And you can boost your signal with a schedule, where you plan your work to make sure the P1s get done.

If we don’t focus our energies, we’ll drown in clatter and clutter. The main thing in life is to keep the main thing the main thing. Listing out priorities and planning our time is a good way to make this happen

Douglas R. Tengdin, CFA

Chief Investment Officer

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