We live in an incredible world with advanced technology and the opportunity to seek information on anything we choose. Our horizons are expanding as we learn and develop our knowledge. Most of us can access information on our smart phones whenever we choose and wherever we are.
But there is a flip side to this. With opportunities to consume more and constant internet access, we can soon find ourselves in information overload!
When working on a project we can over research a topic and not know when to stop. Or perhaps we find ourselves with a few minutes to spare, so we use this time to check out social media, download emails or read another article. With so many great articles to read, we tell ourselves 'just one more!' and before we realise an hour has past.
This can be true in other areas of our lives. For example, when planning a holiday, I always spend far too much time researching. I am reluctant to stop searching as I may find a better deal. After a while what begun as a fun holiday planning activity, has become confusing and frustrating.
With so much information available, the temptation can be to keep searching for more. It is this tendency to over consume information which we need to prevent.
Problems with information overload
Causes overwhelm - Too much information can lead to overwhelm. The feeling that there is always more to find out can leave us unsatisfied and seeking more.
Leads to confusion and self-doubt - There can come a point at which seeking more information becomes confusing rather than helpful. The belief that you need to know more can also cause you to doubt yourself, resulting in low confidence.
Becomes a distraction - Spending hours researching can make you believe that you are in fact working when the exercise is really a distraction. Too much time researching can be a sign that you are avoiding or delaying doing something.
Lack of creating - When you feel overloaded with information and are over consuming, you are prevented from moving on to creating.
Effective ways to deal with information overload
Recognise the signs - If you feel overwhelmed or start doubting yourself then this is a good sign that you have information overload. Watch out for physical signs too, such as headaches or needing a break from a screen.
Set limits - When seeking information, set sensible limits on how much time you plan to spend or the number of articles/resources you will use.
Remove distractions - If you regularly use spare 5 minutes to consume information, purposely remove yourself from distractions. Moving away from your computer or putting your phone out of reach for parts of the day will remove the temptation to consume.
Take regular breaks - Plan regular breaks from taking in information which will allow you to process and reflect more effectively on what you are reading.
Know when you have enough - There will come a point when you do know enough already. Change your mindset by telling yourself you know enough.
Allow your mind space - Do activities which allow your mind to switch off. Activities such as gardening, going for a walk, watching a movie or being creative can help.
Detox days - Consider planning in days when you do not have access to your phone or internet. Notice what this day feels like and how you could spend your time. Use this time to take a break and relax.
Information is a tool for us to use to help us achieve something. When we become overloaded this will lead to overwhelm. It is important to set limits on how much information we seek, according to what is needed, then trust when we have enough. By allowing our minds space to think we also provide the opportunity for ourselves to be creative.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog
My name is Diane Benson and I provide clarity and focus - helping you create a fulfilled personal and professional life.
As an experienced coach, I support you to be more effective, reduce stress and achieve a healthy balance in your life.
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