Tested and Proven Ways to Handle Information Overload
By Rachel Bartee
Abundance of information. That’s one of the advantages of modern living. We can access any type of information we need, whenever we need it. However, the sheer abundance of information is also a struggle.
We came down to a phenomenon called echo chambers. It’s a metaphorical description of the fact that information and ideas are being amplified and reinforced through repetition and communication, which occurs via social media. As a result, we have to work much harder to understand if the information we’re getting is truthful and relevant.
So yes, information overload is a problem. However, we cannot isolate ourselves from all information that comes our way. What we can do is learn how to deal with it.
How Does Information Overload Occur?
It’s not that difficult for us to explain the overload through some simple facts:
- The online world is extremely competitive. Brands are trying to get more people to buy their products or services by posting more information about their competitive edge.
- In online marketing, content is the king. Marketing teams are launching content on a daily basis because that improves their chances to rank on Google.
- According to the info provided by IBM, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are being produced every single day.
- It’s really easy to create and share information online, so everyone is doing it.
- There’s plenty of copied, plagiarized, and repetitive data on any topic.
- There’s an entire industry of fake news.
Even if you did your best, you’d never be able to catch up with all this data. The problem is that even if you don’t try to catch up, information finds its way to you.
How to Handle Information Overload
So how do we handle this situation? How do we start getting the right type of information without suffocating it with redundant, repetitive, and fake details?
- Don’t Try to Get All Facts Before Making a Decision
Let’s say you’re trying to buy a juicer. You’ll have few decisions to make. First of all, do you want a masticating juicer or a normal, centrifugal juicer? What is a masticating juicer, anyway? You’ll have to find that out.
When you know what kind of juicer you want, you’ll have another important question to answer: what brand? You’ll start watching videos. Some of them will favor one brand over the other, but others will convince you that the other one is better. You’ll read a lot of paid reviews along the way, but you won’t be aware of the fact that you’re getting biased information.
When you finally decide on the brand, you’ll have yet another dilemma giving you headaches: what model?
Now try and picture the scenario when you simply find out what kind of juicer you want and you get one that you’re able to afford. Simple as that. Try to make decisions without having all the facts. Sometimes “facts” are not what they seem. You’ll make your life much easier with this approach.
To tell the truth, to work effectively in our busy world you should practice delegation and assign a task to those who are more qualified and can cope with it better and faster than you can. If you’re working on a research project that involves dealing with a lot of information, try to delegate part of it. If you’re working inside a team, your colleagues can help, so you won’t have to process all info yourself.
- Don’t Take Everything into Consideration
When you don’t mind spending time and nerves to get as much info as possible before making a decision, then you should learn how to ignore some of the information you’re getting. This doesn’t mean you should ignore important information, such as emails from your boss, for example. However, you should learn how to ignore information that doesn’t seem reliable or relevant. If you can’t find a source that supports it, then don’t take it for a fact.
- Do Some Skimming
“When digital marketers produce content, they are usually using few facts. The rest of the content? Fillers. If you learn how to quickly skim through the content, you’ll pay attention to the facts and the fillers won’t overwhelm you,” advises Leona Richards, a content expert for Superior Papers.
So skim! Important information will certainly get your attention. It will be bolded, bulleted, or highlighted in another way. If you those details make the entire article seem important, you’ll read it.
- Make Priorities
You don’t have to read everything that comes your way. You don’t have to check your email every 15 minutes, unless you’re expecting an extremely important message. Just make your priorities and focus on what really makes sense now.
We’re getting overwhelmed by information on a daily basis. Not all these details are relevant. They are practically making our lives more difficult instead of more productive. That’s why it’s important to know how to handle information overload in order not to be bogged down!