Now, more than ever, we live in a world with not just a few streams of information, but several streams all with seemingly very useful and powerful messages. There are hours or even days when it feels like you are drowning in an ocean of meaningful and some less meaningful information and simple filtering still leaves more information than you can handle. This information overload causes our minds to be cluttered, productivity to drop, with a distinct lack of alone time, causing us to feel like there's less and less time in the day along with all the anxiety and stress that comes with that.
In days gone by without the internet, information was hard-sought for a purpose, whereas these days we are flooded with information that we are not seeking. The solution to banishing your own information overload is to decide what information you are seeking, reduce or eliminate the excess and reinstate solo reflection time.
Step 1 - Start with the end in mind
Without the internet, getting information was harder and more time consuming which meant we planned more asking ourselves:
- What to I want to do with this information?
- What am I going to produce?
- What specifically do I want to learn?
- What larger project or goal is this information for?
Step 2 - Reduce information intake to the essential
Once the end goal or project is established, the job of filtering out the essential from the non-essential information becomes far easier and much less stressful. Having a time limit for consuming this information before spending perhaps double that time producing something from that content furthers your own projects and goals which gives a feeling of progress and success further easing anxiety.
Step 3 - Finish every work session with a clear deliverable
As mentioned in book The Millionaire Fastlane, successful people take action first and then calibrate and refine it later. Decide at the beginning of a working session what the output will be. It could be achieving a milestone, creating a plan, writing a detailed email or course description. Whatever the output, once achieved work on that can stop, leaving more time for the next work session and output. Start using the motto, done is better than good.