Do you ever feel overwhelmed because you know so much, have so many ideas, yet you are so distracted and can’t seem to get anything done? Do you find yourself daily in the social media black hole, scrolling, researching and digesting information you may never use?
Death by information
It is 2019 and the majority of us ‘millennials’ suffer from the same ailment – Information Overload. Knowledge about everything under the sun is available to us in one click. Our curiosities are further deepened by the thousands of answers generated by search engines, fed in by people like you and I who are thirsty for the same knowledge.
Information is a great thing; it has built businesses and industries, connected people to opportunities and made things better. And this is a huge understatement.
However, we have now reached a point where access to too much of a good thing has made us junkies. We have glazed eyes, drunk to stupor from the fountain of information, unable to take beneficial action with the information we have gathered. We are basically paralyzed by information because we have fallen into the trap of ‘overestimating the importance of practically everything’ (John. C. Maxwell).
There is the legit fear of missing out (FOMO) that keeps us wanting to keep up with the latest news and discoveries whether or not it concerns us. It’s just good to know these things as you never know when you may be called upon to provide information on the current status of Cardi B’s marriage to Offset or twenty businesses you can set up with ₦100,000.
As you can see, the range of information present in our brains consciously and unconsciously is very diverse. We have shelves and shelves of useful and useless information filed away in our brains and sometimes it just gets too much.
At some point we need to stop and evaluate: How much of this information is important and how much of it is beneficial to you as a person and your personal growth?
“If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid”- Epicetus
Believe it or not, you don’t have to know everything. Ignorance is bliss sometimes.
We consume copious amounts of information because we want to know something about everything. Or rather, we feel we need to know something about everything, so we can come across as knowledgeable. This is not a bad thing in itself. We cannot stop our brains from absorbing information as we come across it. What we can do is to control the types and quantity of information we take in. One cannot realistically avoid the consumption of content in the various forms it comes in, not in this day and age.
Unless you are in the business of using the information to make money or to improve any aspect of your life, digging into everything on the internet is actually detrimental to your wellbeing.
If you struggle with information overload and are unable to get things done, here are three tips that I recommend you begin practising immediately.
Limit the number of ‘experts’ you pay attention to
This includes business coaches, self-help coaches, etc. If you want to start a business, find one or two people who have proof of concept and follow them. Listening to multiple experts on a particular subject will overwhelm and cause you to overthink things and enter into ‘research fever.’ The final result: Analysis paralysis and an inability to take action.
Find ways to practice information control
This may mean reducing or actually deleting some apps on your phone. You may need to remove post notification or set timers to control your usage of social media. It may mean removing yourself from some email subscriptions if they have become too many. Try out apps like Off Time or Moment which can help you set restrictions on the amount of time you spend on social media.
Practice applying the information you gather
Find ways to apply the information you gather. You will know if the information you are currently consuming will be useless to you in the grand scheme of things. If you love watching YouTube videos, practice what you are learning or begin a YouTube channel of your own. If you enjoy consuming business advice, find ways to apply it to your business. Gather the information, but by all means, ensure most of it is beneficial to the person you want to become. Be ruthless in cutting out information that does not support the well being of your total self (physical, mental, spiritual etc.).
Are you an information junkie? How do you manage information overload? Do share in the comments below.