12 Strategies for Staying Afloat in This Age of Over Information
We have all heard about the Paralysis by Analysis anecdote. This refers to the state of indecision because of the fear of making a mistake or giving up better solutions. The net result, no decisions or actions are taken in a timely manner sealing the failure of that indecisive person or organization. These days, the majority of us are exposed to a daily overdose of serious and mundane feeds from the ever-increasing myriad of social media sources. Without caution, these could become curses rather than blessings.
In his book, Dr. Kevin A. Miller offers useful insights on how to stay afloat and effectively navigate, survive and flourish in our ocean of superabundance. Dr. Kevin pointed out the signs of information overload, why we have information overload, and suggested strategies for coping and thriving despite it.
Signs of Information Overload
We are all constantly buffeted with the unease of our lives ever getting overcomplicated. No thanks to the unending buzz and feeds from our ever-pervasive social media handles. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and all the other zillion sources constantly bombard us with information that promises to either improve our life, make us richer or famous, or all these three and even more.
We end up with the feeling of missing out while leaving undone more important issues. The lingering consequences; our productivity falls drastically. Either by choice or by compulsion, we jump from one seminar to another meeting. In most cases, we find no time to adequately put to use what we have learned from any of these seemingly unending streams of over information. You are not alone. Welcome to the planet of Over Information. Our planet.
Ever more massive throve of information are being gathered and disseminated through more and more channels each year. Most of this available information is incomprehensible and in badly presented formats. Computing power and information storage capacity are ever-increasing and getting more compact and portable. Unfortunately, as the author pointed out, “Our minds don’t operate like computers.” Even though information technology exposes us to more information through many channels, the flip side is that “Unlike in most other things, for information, more is not necessarily better. Indeed, too much information coming too fast can make us sick.”
Strategies for Coping.
The key is to realize that it is neither possible nor worthwhile to know or keep up with everything. How then do we identify those things we need to know and those we can safely ignore?
The author provided guidelines on how we can do this thus;
- Find the information you need when you need it.
- Clear the clutter out of your life and workspace.
- Effectively create space and time to focus and think.
Here are some twelve guidelines from the book:
- Find someone or a more knowledgeable source that you can look up quickly.
- Narrow the subjects you study to what you need to answer those who depend on you.
- Focus your quest for knowledge and information on your areas of strength. Build on your strengths instead of shoring up your weaknesses.
- Do not neglect areas and subjects that though seemingly of no immediate practical benefits, nevertheless, stimulate your imagination, broaden your understanding, and deepen your empathy.
- Cultivate the habit of capturing and storing good ideas in a format that you can easily retrieve for use when needed.
- “Always apply at least one thing from what you have read or learned. What matters most at the end is how many ideas you act on.”
- If you do not have the time and desire to read the contents of an entire book, find a way to capture and use the key ideas.
- Always ask, “So what?” That is the key to turning information into action. How can I apply what I’m learning? How can a decision be made, an action taken, a matter closed?
- Perform an information audit in terms of source, frequency, time, value, and usefulness. Is there a quicker way of getting the information you need? An information audit will show you where you’re overloading on information and whether the information is profitable. “Learning should be purposeful. You do not need to know everything. Focus sets you free.”
- Your thoughts influence your life, it is your responsibility to control the information you receive. You have a responsibility to set limits. Cultivate the discipline of saying no to constantly answering emails, unsubscribing to certain publications, and admitting that there are many things you don’t know which you don’t need to know and consequently don’t have the time to find out.
- It saves time to not be the first to know something. Change your goal from knowing something before anyone else to knowing what you need to know when you need to.
- You don’t have to be 100% certain of outcomes before you decide. That is luxury no one can afford. Realize that it is better to decide than to stand frozen by information overload. If you decide and it proves to be wrong, you’ll soon know it and can adjust accordingly.
You don’t have to be 100% certain of outcomes before you decide. That is luxury no one can afford. Realize that it is better to decide than to stand frozen by information overload. If you decide and it proves to be wrong, you’ll soon… Click To Tweet.
By implementing even a few changes, you can save amazing amounts of time.
Transformation is less about what you decide to do and more about what you decide not to do.
~ Eirik Olsen
Wisdom has always been in short supply, and wisdom builds from very basic principles, not generally from mountains of information.
You do not have to sit outside in the dark. If, however, you want to look at the stars, you find that darkness is necessary. But the stars neither require nor demand it. ~ Annie Dillard Click To Tweet
You do not have to sit outside in the dark. If, however, you want to look at the stars, you find that darkness is necessary. But the stars neither require nor demand it.
~ Annie Dillard
Can you or will you now identify some of those areas you are where you’re presently wasting your time and your life and cut these off? Click here to connect and share your insights.
Copyright ©Kevin A Miller, Surviving Information Overload, Zondervan, 2004