Information. In today’s world, everything you do seems to depend upon technology. People see more than 34 billion bits of information per day and are connected to some technology device up to 12 hours a day! This much information can cause people to feel overwhelmed and decrease productivity.
When you have a feeling of being overwhelmed, it can be hard even to know what project to start first, thus preventing you from taking ANY action. You will check new emails, research online, and do anything else before making that decision. Here are five ways to help cope with information overload:
- Schedule times to walk away. Walking away seems like an easy solution, right? It is, but if you never step away from your computer, you will continually seek out other items on the internet, your computer or phone. Continual information doesn’t allow your brain any rest throughout the day. Even if you use this time to take a quick lap around the block, you will come back to your desk feeling more refreshed and ready to decide what task to begin.
- Use your email rules. Email can be one of the biggest time killers of your workday. The flow of mail coming in seems never-ending! Email flow is exactly why Outlook has the rules feature. You can have messages of less importance filed away into a separate folder to view later. For example, all newsletters you subscribe to. These are probably not number one on the level of important emails you get. Create a folder called newsletters and create a rule for all of them to be sent there upon receipt. When you’ve got a couple of minutes, you can go to the folder and read these newsletters on your terms.
- Try to schedule the time you’re on the Internet. Planned Internet should be treated just like any work task you do. You know exactly what needs to be done and when it’s complete you move on to the next thing. You need to take that same approach to the internet. When your task is done, proceed to the next thing. Don’t let side-bar ads or cat videos sidetrack your day.
- Don’t answer everything immediately. Some requests aren’t as important as others. You just don’t need to be killing yourself to get back with everyone immediately. Emails, phone calls, etc. that aren’t required ASAP can be flagged (or set a reminder!) and left for that time in your day that you respond to correspondence.
- Back away from your cell phone! You need time at home when you’re unplugged. Family dinners, adventurous outings, movies, etc. Give your full attention to the gathering of people you’re around. Put your cell phone away and immerse yourself in the activity you chose to be a part of.
Yes, these solutions all feel common sense, but in today’s society with 1,500 blog entries being created, 98,000 tweets shared on Twitter, 160 million emails being sent, and 600 videos uploaded to YouTube every 60 seconds, it can be hard to put these suggestions into practice. Be mindful of your stress levels and set some goals and boundaries for yourself.