Do you want to reduce your information overload?
Help! Lorna help! I am suffering from information overload! the voice screeched in my ear...
I rolled my eyes to high heaven because I recognized the voice and I knew in this case the speed with which brain information overload could happen in her case.
"Would you be calling as a client or a friend?" I enquired in my best professional voice."You like too much money!" she exclaimed, thereby overloading me with waaaay too much information.
But my darling friend aside, what really is information overload? Do you suffer from it too? And Why don't I suffer from it?
Well here's your chance to get the scoop as I unpack this problem and share my unique perspective on how to solve it.
With that said, I started this post by checking with your trusted Wikipedia for a definition of information overload definition and...look out! I couldn't get any more complicated if I tried.
First, information overload is also known as infobesity or infoxication (say what?)
Then I learnt that it pre-dates the internet since the term itself is mentioned in a 1964 book by" Bertram Gross," The Managing of Organizations. In this book he states: Information overload occurs when the amount of input to a system exceeds its processing capacity. I get that!
But my favourite definition is: the access to so much information, almost instantaneously, without knowing the validity of the content and the risk of misinformation. This is when true information overload or data overload occurs.
So how do you avoid or reduce information overload?
Here is a 5-Step solution that I devised that works for me and I know it can work for you...
1. Determine what is "information" for you
Information is really raw data that has been processed so that it has meaning for the end-user. To avoid information overload, you need to determine what "information" is to you. In making your determination, you should be driven by your needs and the level of your data analysing skills. You see, data is useless without the skills to analyse it.
When your analyzing skills are strong, you can quickly strip away the "wheat from the shaft" and in so doing, reduce the level of information overload.
2. Know why you need the information
Do you need it to help you solve a problem? To write a proposal? To make a decision? Do you want it to substantiate a view you already have about something or do you just want to expand your knowledge.
If you're like me, you want the type of information that will help you to solve problems for your clients, deliver high impact training that help employees to perform better or offer small business services which result in rapid business turnaround.
3. Analyse the data so that it meets your needs
Once you have determined what information you need and why, this should impact the way you analyse the data. If you need the information to make a particular decision, you should analyse the data so that you discover the patterns, associations and relationships that take you towards that decision in the fastest possible time.
Analysing the data in a generic fashion provides a "hit or miss" result that escalates the feeling of information overload.
4. Don't get caught in the multi-tasking trap
It really is a trap. We believe that when we multi-task we are doing several things at the same time and this allows us to better handle the information that's rushing at us. Jokes!
What you're really doing is interrupting one task with another. This mean that neither is being completed well and both are taking longer to complete.
Here's a solution that can work for you: You have to remain focused so that you are not distracted from the information that you really want. The key to staying focused is not multitasking but giving your brain short periods of down time.
This allows your brain to more quickly and adequately process intellectual input. This also goes a long way towards reducing information overload.
5. Remember all information is connected to your bigger picture
Just like how you are in control of deciding what is information, you're also in control of deciding the bigger picture to which your information is connected.
For example, my bigger picture is the expansion of knowledge, both the type that I can resell in the form of products and services for my clients and the type that helps me to live a better life.
So what's your bigger picture?
There you have them! Five simple steps that place you in charge of how you download and use information. Use them to reduce the overload today...will you?
To your informed success...
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