Your phone is buzzing with an alert notification, everyone from high school has found you on Facebook & you already followed a ton of people on Twitter so that they could follow you back. Will 2011 be the year of the Un-Friend & Unsubscribe? Will we begin to scale down our consumption only to things that are relevant to us?

The internet first expanded our boundaries, so we can communicate and interact with people far away. I remember first chatting with someone in a different state in the 80s, “Wow! I can even see them type”. This was a far cry from the Australian pen-pal I was connected to in elementary school who I exchanged a total of 4 letters with over a 4 month period and then lost touch with. The instant non-telephone communication opened my eyes to the possibilities.

Through the power of the internet we’ve reached out, connected, consumed, binged and have now reached a state of over-indulgence.

Take into consideration the different methods of consumption which have crowded our time & brain RAM with:

– Traditional E-Mail (this alone might be drowning you)
– Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, LinkedIn, etc.
– Links from any of these to: Videos and News articles
– E-Mail Newsletters you may or may not have opted into.
– Smart phone Apps & their notifications
– Instant Messaging and/or Skype
– Televisions (home, public, private)

Try handling all of that above along with Phone Calls (personal, work or solicitations), Faxes or conventional consumption.

How about SPAM & Text Messages? These alone would give your fingers a work-out all day (as I do some simple finger-stretching exercise in recognition of this).

Basically our consumption has risen like the national debt and it’s time that we exercise some fiscal consumption responsibility and start scaling things down to what is the most relevant (or hyper-relevant if you will).

Here are things that we can do:

1) Create Lists for our social media channels, so that we can sort everything and read a coherent feed of relevant info when we have time.
2) Unfriend or Hide some people. Use your best judgment – there is no wrong answer. You know who needs to go.
3) Unsubscribe from all of those irrelevant newsletters & e-mail updates.
4) Make yourself invisible on IM unless you are actively using it.
5) Limit your link-reading or video viewing to certain times of day (First thing in the morning, at lunch, or in the evening) – unless this IS your job ofcourse!
6) Turn off notifications to your phone.
7) Start writing shorter, more concise e-mails – and only when you have to.
Last but not least: Understand that not every text message requires a response!

I’ve rolled out these as part of my 2011 resolutions and you can too. By doing a quick tally of how much time you spend on each of these every day you will see the benefits! Good luck.