With 1.4 billion web pages at our fingertips and a constant barrage of incoming messages and emails, are we suffering the effects of Information Overload?
Having more information to deal with than ever before is not only just stressing us out, but is making us less productive.
In one study 43% of the managers questioned thought that important decisions are delayed, and that the ability to make decisions is affected as a result of having too much information.
How can we cope?
Quality over Quantity.
Forget more is more. Quality over quantity. Filtering. Weigh the costs in time and complexity for that “one last fact”.
Keep everything in one place
Not only will it make things easier to find, it gives you less to worry about. Whatever system you use is up to you, just pick one and use it consistently. I have a folder called My Knowledgebase and everything I want to keep for reference purposes goes there. If its a date or to-do it lives in Outlook, etc. I am not a big fan of post-it notes!
Know when to hit the “off switch”. Recognize you just can’t absorb it all. It makes a big difference when you take control and set limits on how much data you want to take in.
If spam for you is still a problem you need to implement a better filter. Turn off the auto-receive switch and retrieve emails only when its right for you. Implement a folder structure to organize emails you want to keep (people, projects, etc.). Use email rules to automatically direct incoming emails to relevant folders and color-code messages sent to you only (i.e. the one’s most worth reading)
It's here to stay and thanks to WIFI its just about everywhere. 29% of us use the internet once a day to find information. Consider search skills something worth honing, just as keyboarding was a few years back. And when you do find something, don’t clutter your Favorites but copy the short-cut first to your desktop and then to a named folder for future reference. And if you have to stay up-to-date on many things, then look into RSS feeds which aggregate news and information from websites you want to track.
Making sense of it all.
Mind maps (www.mind-map.com) or graphical representations of ideas engage both sides of the brain and let you capture ideas in a unique way that promotes clearer thinking. Microsoft OneNote is a great application for “better note taking and research gathering”. Or just use Word in a new way: the Outline view. Used properly it can cut the time to write a typical report by 50%.
Take an Information Vacation
Leonardo Da Vinci recognized you need to look at things with fresh eyes, or from a different perspective. Clear the mind, and when you “come back” to things you may finally see what you were trying to find.
1.Recognize that information without limits may be stressing you out and reducing your productivity.
2.Implement filters and focus on quality over quantity.
3.Organize the data in your life, keeping like items together and in one place only..
4. Know when to hit the off switch; recognize the point when you have enough.
5.Learn what software and other tools can do to make things simpler and bring them into focus.
6. Clear the mind and come back to things with fresh eyes.