A newspaper has large sheets filled with loads of tiny font, why is this not like today’s information overload?
Intuitively we understand the answer to this question, those printed articles are not being launched at us (unless we were standing outside, decades ago, and somebody was slinging it at our front door).
It is important to stay up to date and to be continuously learning, however, how we do so will make all the difference.
As we know very well, dealing with the constant influx of information from various platforms and sources can be overwhelming. Let’s better manage this by employing a combination of these and your own strategies:
Set Clear Goals
Define your objectives and what you aim to achieve by consuming information. Having clear goals will help you stay focused on relevant content.
Practice Information Triage
Quickly scan information to identify key points, and decide whether to delve deeper or move on. The Eisenhower Matrix (urgent/important) can help prioritize tasks and information.
Set Information Boundaries
Be assertive in what you choose to consume and for how long. Avoid falling into information rabbit holes.
Prioritize Your Information Sources
Identify the most valuable and relevant sources for your personal and professional needs. Unsubscribe or unfollow sources that don’t provide significant value.
Set Specific Information Consumption Times
Designate specific times during the day for checking and processing information, such as morning and afternoon “information breaks.” Avoid constant multitasking.
Create a Filtering System
Use email filters, social media lists, and news aggregators to sort and prioritize information. Categorize content based on its importance and relevance. Not everything that is shared needs to be read, even by sources you gain value from. Even this article if you’re already content with this skillset!
Develop Information Consumption Rituals
Establish a routine for managing your information, ensuring that it becomes a structured part of your daily life, and that you’re able to stay level-headed throughout consumption. For those who need to read lots in a short amount of time, reading beforehand may prepare the brain for information intake. For those who may be overwhelmed by news headlines, practicing meditation beforehand may be an effective intro. Tailor your routine to your needs.
Disable non-essential notifications on your devices. Only allow notifications from apps and sources that are essential to your immediate needs. Allow yourself the option to go and retrieve that which you need, when you need it, without overloading yourself from the outset.
Employ the Pomodoro Technique
Use time management techniques like the Pomodoro Technique, which involves focused work intervals (e.g., 25 minutes) followed by short breaks. This can help maintain productivity while managing distractions.
If we are lost in streams of information, we may reinforce our behavior by telling ourselves that what we’re doing and reading is important. Develop your own mindfulness techniques to stay present and avoid getting lost in a constant barrage of information. When needed, don’t be afraid to employ your own technique to help you recenter and regain focus.
Use Information Management Tools
Utilize tools like note-taking apps, task managers, and bookmarks to save and organize information for later reference. That piece may be important to read, but it may not be important to read right now.
Allocate time to disconnect from all digital devices to recharge and reduce information overload. This reset is invaluable and can be felt physically as well as mentally and emotionally.
Learning How to Learn
Invest time in improving your information management skills. There are courses, books, and seminars available that can help you become more efficient in handling information.
Periodically review and clean up your information sources, unsubscribing or unfollowing any that are no longer relevant or useful. Actively associating with or not associating with a source will also guide you on what your priorities are.
Effective information management is a continuous process and it’s important to adapt your strategies as your needs change.
Let us regain control over the constant information flow and use it advantageously.
Let us keep centered, read, and grow in the directions that are the most fitting.
Do you have comments, questions, ideas, or suggestions? Share with us at: [email protected]