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Dealing with Information Overload- Part 2

In the last post we examined the reasons behind information overload. How all sorts of information are pushed on us nonstop from a myriad of sources- push emails, rss feeds, facebook updates- the three that came to my mind.  In this post we will look at some of the ways that we can utilize to get out unscathed at the least and a winner at the best from the depth of information dump. If we analyze the issue little dispassionately, we will come around to believing that the origin of information overload has more to do with us than the outside world.

The root of the problem can be traced to our own way of planning, prioritizing and focusing on the most important goals or projects at hand. This has been a bane for me. I find the most recent information very tempting and can’t keep myself from having a quick glance. I get totally messed up, find myself lost and it requires quite an effort to bring my focus back and pick up the thread. The end result: loss of time, delays and below par performance. The trick, therefore, lies in pulling out the most relevant information and be on a lean information diet. You may like to try out a simple four step process as explained below:

  1. Evaluate
  2. Execute
  3. Eliminate
  4. Escape
  1. Evaluate:  Wheat from the chaff. We must be able discern from all information sources and segregate the ones that are most authentic and connected to our priority and help me achieve my goals. Stick to the only to those we need to know and keep at bay the nice to know types. Quality rather than quantity should be our guide here. We should let only those in which are most essential to know and can easily be acted upon. Avoid the
  1. Execute: Proof of the pudding is in the eating. We have evaluated the information that is going to support us in our goals. What next? We need to quickly act on it. We should not just be a passive consumer of information. Or refrain from intellectual masturbation. It’s better not to spend time on information if you are not using on the current tasks at hand or you are not using it for your advancement. If you think you will need something in the future, file that away in a dump and forget for now. Cross the bridge, when it comes in the future.
  1. Eliminate: When the more is not the merrier. If a piece of information is no longer in alignment with what you have evaluated get rid of them immediately. Do not just be a greedy accumulator, learn to let go to de-clutter your mindspace. I can tell from my own experience, it is easier said than done. Most of us have the tendency of clinging on to everything that comes our way. We must learn to overcome this tendency to leave a happier life.
  1. Escape: Unplugged and underground. If you find none of the steps working for you, just escape. I am not kidding. Practice periodical unplugging to escape the tyranny of constant consumption. This is a detoxification drive for our mind. You have to weigh in your responsibilities and decide when and for how long you can manage the escape. If you ever feel that you are overburdened and can’t afford to unplug, you are the one badly in need of an elongated break. If you can’t afford even this then you need a re-look at your life and its priorities.

Escape could be as simple as staying away from all form of internet for a substantial period of time (say over weekends) or going on a vacation with your loved ones or friends.

Try these for once as simple steps in your life and find for yourselves how effective these are for you. I must caveat, I am no expert on the subject and I have learned from different sources and see them working for me. Efficacy of any rules or guidelines depends as much on the acceptance and implementation by those they are meant for as the strength of the rules or guidelines themselves. After you have tried these tips, let me know how it went for you.

On to success and a more enjoyable life!

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