We all know the feeling – read online news articles on a particular topic while listening to a podcast or news on TV, and then BOOM! You feel too overwhelmed to figure out what to do next. You are struck by what is commonly known as “information overload” – all you can do is sit back and think about everything you’ve just read or heard, which makes it difficult to focus on any tasks you may have. to have on hand.

Wouldn’t it be so ideal to be able to immediately move forward with future projects that you need to do instead of sitting and thinking over and over about all the information you consume? One thing is for sure: you will definitely do much more.

Well, you don’t need to let the endless abundance of information in society oppress you. This article will help everyone understand exactly what information overload is and how to overcome it.

You will no longer stare at your computer screen with disappointment when you have to write this job offer, postpone your workout so that you can scroll “just one more” article on your smartphone or leave social media to distract you from everything from your homework!

So, without further ado, here’s an overview of what you need to know about information overload and sure ways to overcome it.

What is information overload?

Information overload is an act of learning so much that it prevents you from taking action.

For example, you might just read countless news articles, white papers, and other sources of information on a particular topic. Or you listened to a lot of information podcasts or radio shows and then you felt completely overwhelmed by different points of view and opinions.

The most common manifestation of information overload is “analysis paralysis”, in which we receive so much information about something that we cannot decide which decision is best to make. There are just too many options coming from all the information you just consume, so just think about all the different paths without moving forward.

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Information overload can make us so stressed that we decide not to make any decisions at all (which in itself is a decision). Also, according to Psychology Today,

“Information overload can lead to real feelings of anxiety, feelings of overload and helplessness and mental fatigue. It can also lead to cognitive problems such as difficulty making decisions or making hasty (often bad) decisions. “

Therefore, information overload can be extremely detrimental to our psychological well-being.

Why are we overloaded with information?

Information overload is more common today than it used to be, and for one reason: we have easier access to more information than ever before in human history.

Think about this. With the advent of the Internet, most of us – and if you’re reading this online, you’re one of them – have access to almost every piece of information in the world now at your fingertips.

We already have WiFi-connected laptops and high-tech smartphones that allow us to scroll through and actively use news articles, independent social media statuses, ezines, YouTube videos, and more. anytime and anywhere. We have endless and immediate access to all of them. All this media consumption can affect our way of life.

Are you multitasking in the media?

Let’s not forget all the ways in which we perform multitasking in the media, such as when we run a show on Netflix in the background while grabbing our TikTok and Instagram feeds for the day. Or when we read online news articles while listening to a podcast.

According to Good RX, “people who perform a lot of tasks in the media do poorly with tasks that require focusing and filtering out unnecessary information.”

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This can mean problems with productivity and maximizing work in your professional life.

Don’t forget about passive consumption

How about all the information we passively consume without even trying?

Yes, we constantly consume information while reading subway commercials, traveling to work, listening to the radio and watching billboards while driving, keeping our TVs playing as “background noise” while cooking dinner, and so on. We are still processing this information without you even being aware of it.

What does all this mean? That we are all bombarded with information all day.

As humans, we are simply not designed to process so much data. We are exacerbating the situation with the way we work today in the “information” economy. We have come to the point where we consider the act of receiving and transmitting information (through media such as email and sharing content on social media) to be productive.

This means that the more information we receive and the more we transmit, the more we think we are achieving. Yes, there may be several jobs – with the help of CEOs – where this is true, but for most of us it just overloads us with information and prevents us from doing work and taking action.

How to overcome information overload?

The abundance of information can weigh us down mentally. Yes, we’ve all heard the saying that “information is power”, but that’s not really true.

Jim Quick said:

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“Information is not a force, it is a potential force.”

The real power is in the action you expose with the information you consume.

Information is a potential force

To overcome information overload, what you need to do is actually use that information. Don’t let all this stress and worry you – apply it in your daily routine as you see fit.

This ingenious article you read in a recent industry publication? See how you can apply some of your knowledge to your next business strategy. The interesting political opinion you heard on the radio? Share it with your friend as you both discuss current political events.

The key is to learn to determine the amount of information you need for the task. Then, once you have this information, apply it to the task.

Do this for everything, whether it’s your work projects, entertainment, DIY projects around the house or other hobbies.

Yes, this method can mean that you will sometimes make a mistake. However, the feedback you get from the mistake – more information – will help you move toward your goal more efficiently and quickly than trying to learn everything before you even start.

This hands-on learning process will help you understand the information you need to save and filter for tasks.

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Technology can help

In addition to searching for information only when you need it, Harvard Business Review also recommends using information retention technology that you don’t need for an immediate task. They recommend “creating a Word or Google document in which to record information that your brain should not remember or store. In the first days of a new job, it’s a clever way to unload.

Leaving aside unnecessary information can allow you to organize and organize your information, determine what is needed immediately, and then use the additional information later if necessary.

How to prevent information overload in the future?

Shoot, ready, aim.

In my own experience with the growth of the online language school Live Lingua, I have found that the best way to avoid information overload is to start a task before you go and look for any information. Yes, it means trusting your instincts and the knowledge you already have before doing real research.

For example, I will work on something as much as I can until I know what to do next. It is only at this point that I will seek the information I need to overcome the obstacles I face at this time.

Once I have enough information to overcome the problem I’m dealing with, I go back to work and work as long as I can until I get to the next hurdle. Then I repeat this process until I finish everything I am working on.

This means that I take enough time to gather information, if necessary, and complete the task faster. Try this method, as it can help prevent worms from falling on the Internet, confuse you from different points of view and articles, and then decide that you need a quick “brainstorming” by scrolling through social media, which it ultimately stifles your progress.

To embrace everything

In today’s digital age, we are all constantly bombarded with information from all angles, every day. This can cause information overload and all the emotions that come with it: overload, stress, anxiety, etc.

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You can overcome any information overload you may be experiencing right now by using and applying the information in your life and determining what you need for a task. Then, in the future, prevent information overload by starting a task before you go and look for any information.

Presented photo credit: free stocks through unsplash.com


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