How to manage information overload

Anna Bezuglova, Marketing Coordinator

Information overload is a term generally associated with the excessive quantity of daily information. From the moment we wake up to the time we sleep we are bombarded by information that is sometimes relevant but often creates unnecessary and distracting noise in our lives.

In our always connected, always on world, this perpetual bombardment of excessive information may seem like the norm, and you may be resigned to the fact that this is just a necessary part of today’s reality. But it doesn’t have to be so. 

Daniel Levitin, McGill University psychology professor and author of “The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload says that the conscious mind can pay attention to three, maybe four, things at once. “If you get much beyond that, you begin to exercise poorer judgment, you lose track of things and you lose your focus,” he says.

Further to that, according to a study by Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers which found the average user actually checks their phone nearer to 150 times per day which is a lot unless your business depends on you being on your phone 24/7. 

Finally, a scary statistic from MediaKix predicts that with our current usage rate of social media, the average user is set to spend 5 years and 4 months on social media alone! Imagine the things that could be done with 5 entire years… 

So how can we avoid information overload and become more productive?

1. Turn off your notifications

Turning off your notifications can give you a sense of control because you will only access the messages or notifications when you have the mental space to do so. Instead of waking up to 10 notifications you can feel comforted by not having to feel that urgency to respond all the time.

2. Establish a schedule for checking your email and categorise in order of priority

A lot of the emails we receive can wait to be responded to. They do not need your immediate response. Categorising emails will also allow you to identify which emails need your immediate attention when the scheduled time for them arises

3. Put your phone on flight mode

Completely disconnecting for a few hours whilst you are at work can increase productivity and limit the amount of information you are bombarded with on a daily basis.

“Any change. even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.”

– Arnold Bennet 

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