Have you experienced information overload where you struggle to remain focused because there’s just too much information readily available?
Technology has been both a blessing and a curse. It has enabled us to make massive strides in reaching out to businesses, easier marketing, quicker lead conversions but at the same time it has unintentionally diminished our efficiency.
Imagine this… You are sitting on your computer trying to write a report. As you type away, you recall an article that you saw on Twitter that may be useful, so you swiftly head over to your account. As you scroll through you tweets, you click on a link about information on a new piece of tech item. You open the link because your convinced that this knowledge could be included in your report. Then you put a search in Google and before you know it your on a new site reading another not-so-useful information. Before you know it, hours have passed and you’re no closer than completing your tasks but now overwhelmed by the amount of information you have just taken in.
Rapid technological advances have made the retrieval, production, and distribution of information so much easier to access than in earlier times. This has reduced the natural selection processes which would have otherwise filtered out irrelevant information and made the most vital information available. Be it at home or in the office, we are bombarded with huge amounts of information: television, phone calls, meetings, journals, emails, newsletters, web research, blogs, vlogs, Periscope Blab, podcasts, Snapchat etc.
An article in The New York Times entitled ” Is information Overload a $650 Billion Drag-On the Economy?” identified emails, instant messages and mobile phone calls as being the three main causes of lost productivity and innovation. The article goes on to say that information overload impacted each knowledge worker at the tech giant group, Intel, up to eight hours a week!
1) Stop browsing the net
Shut down Facebook, Twitter, your news feeds etc. Constant browsing uses all your brains resources therefore causing you to be unable to focus on the important stuff. Where you are not focused, nothing gets accomplished. The more distracted you are, the easier it is to be distracted, Choose to do one thing at a time. Open the one browser that will help with your productivity and close down the others. If you are constantly focusing on so many different things, your brain will start feeling tired, shutting down as its unable to compute all the information it’s receiving.
2) Write your vision/plan
The things you desire to accomplish, write them down. Making a visual note as well as a mental note, anchors the feeling, making it real and triggers of the right behaviours. What do you want to accomplish? Get clear about what you want to do and plan it out. Look at the things that are currently around you and question whether they work towards or away from your goals and your mission. This may require you to remove yourself from some What’s App and Facebook groups – those things that suck your time. Define your mission and stick to. Focus on moving towards those things that work towards your mission and vision. You can pick up on the other things, once you reach your outcome.
3) Say no
Don’t commit to projects and new activities until you have really thought things through. Give yourself a criteria and test your responses to these questions against them A) Does it meet your values? b) Does it feed into to your mission? C) Do you have the time, energy and resources to commit? D) Does it lead to some sort of result? If not, then have the courage to say no. Be selfish with your time. We all have the same amount of time in one day, the difference is what you do with it. The technological tools we have at our disposal are meant to enhance and optimize our natural abilities to manage and process information. Instead we have experienced ‘Information Fatigue Syndrome’ which if not kept in check can lead to stress, and ill-health.
Make the decision TODAY to focus on your mission; those things that are essential. Unplug yourself from the information revolution, just for one day and see how productive you will become!