Information Overload [Lessons Learned]

“We are drowning in information but starved for knowledge.” [John Naisbitt] How true is this quote? So very true! We live in a world of TOO MUCH INFORMATION and we are bombarded with information overload. Social Media has made it the norm to overshare and express opinions. The amount of information out there is overwhelming to say the least. You can find justification for every thought you have. There are positives and negatives to this.

Paradox of choice

The paradox of choice is essentially the concept that having many options to choose from can cause people stress and make decision-making more difficult rather than it being a positive thing, it stresses people out. Barry Schwartz coined this term and spoke about it extensively (you can find it on TED talks). This applies to everything in life and technology as amplified this. We see it a lot in dating and shopping. Too many choices, even if most of them are not even relevant to us, makes finding what we want more difficult.

creating filters

In this world of information overload, it is important to be able to filter through all the noise to find what we really need and what is most important. Restrict your input to those that are most important but keep it objective. Depending on what your end goal is, specific sources can help you get all the information you need and keep it unbiased. Things that are too extreme one way or the other can cause you stress and put a strain on your mental health leading you to potentially react rather than approach things objectively. If you are looking for advice or inspiration to advance your personal or professional life, find a couple experts that align with your own goals and that speak to you and drown out the rest.

Critical thinking

This will help you be more objective, especially when researching a topic you are not an expert in. Looking at the big picture and gathering facts from all sides will help you make better decisions. This can apply to both political issues and finding a new pair of shoes online. When we are looking for a deal, we search high and low for the best price but when we make other sensitive decisions, do we do the same? Not usually.

step away

Instead of always being bombarded with information, step away from it; take a social media or internet break. This will not only help with your critical thinking process but it will also help you refocus on where you are at rather than living in a virtual world. I always encourage my clients to take a break from anything the do online when I see they are being overwhelmed or it is just stressing them out. Breaks from anything are helpful. Move away from the virtual world and step into real life. Breath some fresh air. Enjoy nature. This is real. What is online rarely is. Get some distance to gain perspective. It always helps me personally.

just say no!

I have heard on several occasions that information overload is the enemy of productivity and reality’s nemesis. At some point, you have to make a choice. You need to choose what and who you allow into your thought space. Too often people, ideas and things take up valuable space in your mind, which leaves not enough space free for things that actually fill your cup – those self-care things that truly empower you and make you happy. Overthinking is truly the enemy here. Knowledge is power, there is no doubt, and get the knowledge you need but know when to step away. Stop comparing yourself to others and take the blinders off. Say no to everyone’s personal opinions and be a critical thinker. Mute those that are triggering to you.

Your Takeaway

  1. Having too many options to choose from causes more stress and makes finding what we want or making decisions more difficult.
  2. Avoid too much information online by filtering what information you see. If something is triggering to your mental health, keep it out of your main view, even if it means unfriending or unfollowing someone.
  3. Approaching information from a critical thinking perspective helps you be more objective and come to informed decisions rather than emotional ones.
  4. Stepping away from the virtual into the real world helps you gain valuable perspective and gives you a break from information overload.
  5. Saying NO to information overload helps protect your mental health and wellbeing. Remember also that curiosity for the sake of personal comparison will never end well.

TRY THIS: Take a break from all online activities – social media, dating apps, job sites, news sites – and whatever else you waste time on. Use the time to do something that will benefit your mental health and wellbeing.

POST IT NOTE: I will step away from technology!

Click for recorded segment exclusively on INFORMATION [8:02 mins]

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