The flag is at half-staff right now. My mom has told me it is because the USA has crossed over 1 million deaths from COVID-19. 

It is a grim fact and likely worthy of pausing and reflecting on.  

If she hadn’t told me, I would never have known. Despite wondering why the flags had been lowered, I hadn’t cared enough to look it up.

We tend to lower the flag more often now than in my childhood. So, I don’t keep up with the flag status.  

But if I did want to keep up, I would go to and sign up for notifications.

Multiple efficiency experts have told me you don’t need to sign up for notices like these. Doing so interrupts your life with too many things. 

When you’re constantly being interrupted, you put yourself in a place of never being able to focus.  

I don’t get news notifications either. But still, when ten people were shot and killed in Buffalo, I found out within minutes from multiple sources. The people around me interrupted to inform me of this important event.  

The proof of how much not being sent notification eliminates interruptions is this was the only story the people in the room passed along to me. But they got many more notifications. I know this because only a handful of times in my life has the evening news been about only one story.  

Our society’s need to constantly be fed information means news organizations send out dozens of urgent notifications every day. Most of them border on trivial. My go-to example of this is the day Hilary Clinton’s mom died. I remember being on a treadmill and the TV screen in front of me had a scroll at the bottom of it that said, “Breaking News: Hilary Clinton’s mom died.”  

I don’t want to minimize her life but let’s face it. It is a big deal to Hilary, Bill, Chelsea, and the Rodman-Clinton family, but it’s not even news to 99.999% of Americans.  

I’m not uninformed. I would consider myself highly informed. 

It is just that I control when I get informed.  

The same thing happens with personal items. If something significant happens in the lives of my friends, I find out by talking with them. I ask them how they are doing. I ask them if anything is going on in their lives. If something significant or life-changing happens like the birth of a child, death in the family, change in jobs, or buying a new house, I find out through word of mouth for mutual acquaintances.

Steve Bowen’s stroke, Tim Keating’s Granddaughter, and Mark Powell’s home sale were all known to me within hours of their happening because of good old fashion word of mouth methods. 

Concerned and excited people let you know the essential things.  

And when things happen in the lives of people who are more distant to me, like high school classmates or former neighbors, it is OK if I find out during weekly checks of social media. 

I have a next to zero chance of running into these people, so I don’t need to be current. Plus, if I do run into one of them, the first thing I will do is ask them how they are doing. Then they will fill me in on what is important.  

Some people reading this could be finding out I am using them. Maybe even think they are being taken advantage of by me.  

Let’s face it. For example, If it is essential to the Vikings, Sara will let me know.  

It works the other way. Suppose you are close to me and care about the Red Sox. I’ll fill you in.

Also, I am not a person who takes from a relationship. I know what other people care about and make a note when I notice things in those areas. 

When I see something about the Royal family, I pass it along to my daughter Anne. I look up Chelsea soccer information before I talk to my son Mike. 

I stay current on NASCAR to be able to discuss it with my son-in-law.  

So, for now, I will continue to cut down on interruptions and let either my daughter, wife, or mother tell me why the flag is at half-staff.  

And if I haven’t seen you in a while and I ask how you are doing, it is because I need to be updated. 

I haven’t been researching you between meetings.