4 Tips on how to overcome Information Overload
Never before have we had so many options and choices available to us, if you want a new laptop, to learn a new skill or take your clients for a meal then the internet is probably one of the first places that you’ll go to in order to do a bit of research. However having all these options available to you in a few clicks and that are supposedly there to make your life easier can often in themselves cause information overload!
With technology evolving by the second it is no wonder you might feel as if your brain is about to explode.
As most of us now have smartphones there really is no respite from the plethora of information we are be exposed to on a daily basis.
But technology and the creation of new online software is meant to make our lives easier right?
There is so much information available for us to read that once we start it’s hard to see where you should stop. When you believe that something is going to teach you that missing skill, help you improve your business or give you better insight into your industry then you cannot help but be pulled in to the information vortex.
You know you’re experiencing information overload when you’re reading the information and none of it really goes in. You may find yourself saying, I need a break; some time out and hopefully realise your production levels are stalling.
It’s not your fault by the way; you’re hard wired that way, to want more information, to want to learn, engage and progress. That is a healthy approach to life and business but when 4 hours of your day is spent reading through twitter updates and clicking every link like a kid in a candy store you know there’s a problem (unless that’s your job of course).
Knowing how to get the best out of the information out there is a skill, the information isn’t going to disappear so try the following approach:
Email – Create folders and apply filters so that you have files for emails that you consider urgent, needs attention, can wait, save for some reason. If you subscribe to more than 3 newsletters, choose the ones you cannot live without and then unsubscribe from the rest. Any important contacts flag them so they come to the top of your email.
Better yet use different email addresses for different purposes e.g. only have business emails to your business address, another one for when you sign up to business related newsletters etc and another one for personal. That way you can focus on your priorities without tempting distractions.
Social Media – Create lists (not too many) and filter your favorite people to follow into those, then when you log into twitter you can simply click on that list and quickly scan through their recent tweets etc.
News Feeds – Become a headline reader, the whole story is usually summed up in the headline with some odd facts in the news article so this means that you can just scan through the article and pick up the best bits and move on. Even better, tweet it or like it and you can come back to it another time. Use Iphone apps such as byline to read your feeds even when you don’t have internet.
Time Limits – When researching for that perfect something it’s easy to get so absorbed that you lose time and get yourself even more confused about what you’re looking for. Set yourself a deadline for time spent on research. When you reach your deadline then choose to go with the best option that you have at that time. You can always change it later, often however we get so fixated on perfection that we lose some perspective.
If you apply this sort of filtering and strategic glancing to all of your intake of information then you will dramatically reduce your information overload and probably become more productive and proactive in every facet of your life.
Now I know that some of you will be sweating, thinking that I’m taking something away from you by suggesting these tips but in truth I am setting you free to be more productive (and probably less stressed).
If the information is worth knowing it will find you some other way, trust me.