Do you feel swamped with all the digital information out there? I feel as if I’m constantly glued to my pc/phone/laptop! Not a great example when telling the teenager to take a break from his phone either.
Data comes in all forms, including apps, videos, infographics, blogs, podcasts… it can be both overwhelming and time-consuming.
How Do You Reduce Information Overload?
It’s not easy – but I’ve personally learned that setting boundaries is an absolute must. When the kids come home from school, the phone goes away. It’s so tempting to check a reply from an email or see who’s connected on LinkedIn, but there has to be a cut-off point! I’ll log in again once the kids are in bed – it’s hard to find the right time to be online in today’s 24/7 digital environment.
The director of the Mental Health Research Institute at Michigan University (J.Miller), wrote in 1962 that “information overload is a problem of the times”. So, even in the age before the internet (incredibly the world wide web only began in 1991), people were overloaded with information.
Data has become such an integral part of our personal and professional lives. Since overload can lead to stress and depression, we all need to find ways to cope.
Miller had 7 strategies for dealing with information overload, which appear just as effective in today’s world as back in the 60s:-
- Exclusion – you can’t possibly absorb all information, so just ignore some. However, this means prioritising what you choose to ignore!
- Respond quickly – this might not seem effective, but sometimes you just don’t have time to think of all the possible consequences.
- Queuing – putting the information to one side, until you have time to look at it.
- Filtering – nowadays we can filter information by using inbox rules, social media analysis, internet search engines, and more.
- Delegating – for example, why not assign Blog writing to a Virtual Assistant!
- Approximating – process more information by ‘skim reading’ it.
- Escaping – sometimes the best approach is to admit you can’t ‘do it all’ – so perhaps you could delegate some tasks to a Virtual Assistant.
So by all means, feel free to skim read this Blog or come back to it later, just don’t exclude it! 🙂
If you or your business needs some help with reducing information overload, please get in touch here:
Claire Sheppard CS Admin Support