💀 Reader question: "is something still noise if I can't stop thinking about it?"


Is something still noise if I can't stop thinking about it?

May 24, 2019

A reader asks:

"Is something still noise if you can't stop thinking about it? What if it’s something that’s bugging me to no end that I _want_ to do? In this case, it’s rebuild my site."

Awhile back I'd written about how that I think this idea we have about reducing the signal to noise ratio has gotten a little out of hand in the kind of creative and technical work we do. We're concerned about ten-exing (10xing) our output, maximizing our productivity. We should be, but at some point I think we miss the opportunity to ask whether we should be receiving the signal at all.

Before we commit to opening a newsletter in the morning, let's say, we should try a gut check and ask: "is clicking this link going to make me better? Really?" and then choose by that mark whether we shut down that signal entirely.

So, if you have a nagging thought that you want to rebuild your site, refresh your portfolio, design new business cards, then rather than try to ignore that thought, dissect it.

1. Will rebuilding your site make you better?
2. Do you really want to or do you feel compelled by FOMO, envy, hope that it will translate into a more lucrative career?
3. Is it actually worth your time to rebuild your site? Joy is a good enough reason.
4. Why haven't you done it yet?

Suppose this nagging passes muster, then you know what you have to do. Just start. Make a plan. Make incremental progress. Spend 30 minutes a day.

Can't find 30 minutes a day? Well, then it's probably not that important. Life is short. You're going to die. If you're not doing it now and you're not going to start now, rebuilding your site's not a priority. It doesn't register on the leaderboard of shit-that-matters. Let it go.

Now, let's say that the reason you haven't started is because you don't really want to spend your time on this project, but your site embarrasses you. The motivation then isn't to rebuild your site, but to address the embarrassment. If you can get to the point where you just don't care about being embarrassed, then yahtzee, but the next best thing is to eliminate the source of that embarrassment.

Designers and developers don't really need portfolio sites. It's just a trend. A badge of belonging. Point your domain at your LinkedIn profile, or - if you're like me! - at your medium page (schoeyfield.com). I don't have a portfolio site because I don't want to maintain one. I've got better shit to do. Maybe you do too.

Craft virtuously,

Michael Schofield


P.S. Hey family. Yesterday, I started a stoicism.design twitter (@DesignStoic). When I talk about stoicism.desgin on twitter, the sombitch truncates that mention into a t.co link, and so I literally created the @DesignStoic twitter account so I could talk about stoicism.design in my other twitter account. Silly, huh? Help me grow this newsletter and give it a follow. <3

Refer virtuously

I would love your help growing stoicism.design. I put together a little referral program. If folks subscribe using your link https://stoicism.design/?referrer=*|UNIQID|* I can see it was you who referred them aaaaand I'll dream-up some sort of incentive. In the meantime, you can totally get a head start.