Today I’m going old school (well I was). No internet connection, no computer, and no information overload. Right now my computer’s busy uploading videos and charging the battery, so I took my highly portable documentation device (pen and paper) and started writing. For me it feels good to have my full attention. I know that sounds weird but think about it. With everything around you trying to get your attention, sometimes it’s good to totally disconnect in order to get laser focused.
Even if you don’t use computers and the internet to make money, I think we all suffer from information overload at one time or another. Personally, the problem I face is a self-induced overload…. I’ve found that too much WiFi can stifle my creativity and compromise my focus. Sometimes it’s easier to get the info I need in small consistent chunks and not all day long. Like a lot of people, I suffer from a very short attention span, so sometimes having access to the internet is too much of a distraction for me. Before I know it I’ll be looking at everybody’s posts, watching everyone else’s videos and three hours later I’ll still have nothing to show for it. Personally I like to research my subjects, prepare to write some content and disconnect for a while.
Admittedly it is difficult to block out all distraction especially if you’re a parent. I have 3 small children so I know what it’s like to start something only to get sidetracked by someone streaking the living room. Or if you’re trying to listen to a webinar or do research and someone is saying dad, dad, dad, dad……….DAAAAAAD!? The only solution I’ve found to stay focused if you have kids is to do things while they’re asleep or do things at work before you get home. I actually do things on my lunch hour or stay at work a few minutes late just so I can stay focused and finish my research. However if your main challenge is learning something just get what you’re trying to learn on a portable device and listen to it when you can. From what I’ve found, the best place to squeeze in a little extra information is when I’m in the car or during a workout.
Take Control of Your Information Overload
What you have to remember about information overload is that you are the one who controls what you take in. The way I look at taking in too much information is like drinking water too fast. Sure you can guzzle 2 liters of water in 5 minutes but we all know that doing something like that wouldn’t be very efficient and a lot of the water would just spill on the ground and get wasted. The other problem you face when you take in more than you can handle is how much will you actually absorb? Like drinking too much water too fast your body will only absorb so much so a lot of the water you take in just gets wasted anyway.
Taking in too much of anything in a short period of time is not good. Having information overload is extremely stressful and most of the time it’s self-induced. Information should be taken in manageable and consistent amounts like anything else. I’ve found that taking breaks and getting back to whatever I’m trying to learn in a day or two also helps. Like a good workout program we have to build our knowledge base just like we build our muscles. Build your mind little by little and in a consistent manner.
I understand that sometimes we want to know everything this very instant but when it comes to information we can only go as fast as our minds will let us. If you’re experiencing information overload just know that the only cure is to stop for a while and pick it back up in a day or two. The absolute best thing you can do is stop taking in all information for at least 24 hours, but I know for most people that might be too difficult so the next best thing is to slow down your intake as much as possible. For some of us this might mean staying off of Facebook for a while or maybe let your emails go unchecked for a day or two.
Whatever you do, just remember to slow down. That’s the best advice I can give you about information overload
Eric & Lauren Kalberer
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