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5 Ways to Avoid Information Overload

March 29, 2013 by Mainak Biswas under Internet Marketing Marketing734 views
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If you are not living in the middle ages, you probably come across the term ‘information overload’ quite often these days. What people mean by this term is that they are constantly bombarded with a lot of information, especially through gadgets connected to the Internet. Certainly, Internet opened up doors to a new way of accessing information for free, and the barrage of information has proved to be unhelpful sometimes. Information overload is caused due to saturation of our cognitive capacities.

Here are 5 ways we think will help you to reduce information overload.

1.      Remove Electronic Clutter
The first and foremost thing to do is to unsubscribe from mailing lists that you may have subscribed to. You must also ensure that you designate about 20 minutes a day to your social networking activities and then not be tempted to use them throughout the day. Scheduling of social posts will help you to spend less time on social networking sites. Though most people refuse to admit, they should try and delete online dating accounts they don’t use. They are not only addictive, but also serve no real purpose unless you are actually single in life.
2.      Reduce What You Read
This may sound counterproductive but the amount of news articles and blog posts that we read these days is mind boggling. That necessarily has not made us any smarter. Try and subscribe to magazines that you like and are sure that they are of value to your profession and personal growth. FlipBoard, Zite, and other reading applications are addictive but can cause information overload if you do not know how to use them.
3.      Read Physical Books When Available, and Avoid Electronic Versions
The reason why paperbacks and hardbound books are still better than electronic documents is that we cannot easily shift to a different book or topic and close the page. When we hold a book, we are not as easily distracted as we would, if we read the same thing on a tablet, where it is easier to type a tweet to someone.
4.      Learn to Say No
Most of us are very passive when it comes to learning new things or exposing ourselves to unnecessary information. Always learn to say ‘no’ when you encounter new information (as opposed to knowledge) is bombarded at you from many sources. Stop for a minute and ask yourself if this information is useful to increase your knowledge on your chosen or adjacent topics. If it is not, then say ‘no’ mercilessly. This concept should not be confused with being close-minded to new information. That is something altogether different. What we are trying to say is that you should know which information is useful to your profession and if the source of that information is good enough. If either is questionable, then it is unwise to overload your cognitive processes with extra information which is not related to you in any way.
5.      Give Yourself Time to Not Think
This is a time tested strategy to ensure that your brain cells have enough time to rejuvenate themselves after resting. However, most of us switch from one information overload causing activity to another. At the end of the day, our productivity suffers and so does our self esteem. The idea is to completely put yourself away from any sort of information source for a couple of hours each day. An hour’s duration of working out at the gym and a cup of coffee with a friend should be enough to replenish those tired grey cells, so that can get back to your information hogging lifestyle.
Information overload is something that we cannot avoid in a world like today’s. It is something that we must learn to accept and grow. What we can do is, reduce it to the maximum possible level so that our creativity is not ruined and our productivity is increased. When we are exposed to more information than we can handle, we certainly become uncreative, tired, and predictable. Over time, it causes burnout and fatigue, leading to stress related problems that could also result in health issues. You can say ‘no’ to information overload by starting to taking a break, like right now!
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