Between social media, email, the radio, tv and smart phones… not to mention text messages and good old fashioned phone calls, it’s amazing we ever get anything accomplished!
In fact, the average person spends about nine hours a day using some sort of media according to a study conducted by Ball State University. That’s a lot of information! Here are a few tips to overcome information overload.
#1 Set Priorities. Gleaning information from multiple sources is a good idea if you’re writing an article or an e-book. However, if you’re simply looking to access the local weather and traffic report, one medium can surely provide that information. Set your information priorities and then determine the single one or two sources to acquire that information each day.
#2 Choose The Right Tools And Resources To Fit Your Priorities. There are wonderful tools available today to help you gain quick access to the information you need. For example, an RSS reader will let you pull feeds from blogs and websites you subscribe to and Google will enable you to label your email messages so you know which ones are important and which ones can wait until later. I recommend having a separate email just for newsletters, sales, etc that you sign-up for online. Then only checking that email say 2 or 3 times a week, rather than it being daily.
#3 Set A Limit. If you find that a particular medium drains an abundance of your time, AKA… Facebook or email for example, you can schedule your time with those particular sites. For example, instead of leaving your email open you can choose to access it at specific times. For example, at the start of the day and again at the end of the day. Social networking can be set aside until later in the evening and you can give yourself 20 minutes each morning to read the news or watch it on television.
#4 Take Information Vacations. Whether you turn off all media for a day, for the weekend, for a week or gasp even for a month, taking a vacation from information will help you see that you can in fact live without it. This break will help you set priorities and get your life back from information overload.
#5 Organize And Label. Email messages can often be sorted and labeled and even stored in folders so you can access them on an as needed basis. Information, for example blogs, newsletters, and content you receive can also be sorted and organized for easy access. This process saves you time from having to consume information when you receive it. Now you can access it when and if you need it and save yourself valuable time.
Ultimately, you’re in control of your time and the information you consume. Set priorities, use the tools and technology available, and keep yourself organized for a streamlined and stress free approach.
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