Information is everywhere now.
Information Overload is where you have so much information coming into your brain that you just can’t focus on any of it and it all becomes a blur. It’s what happens when you have 2356 different tabs open in your internet browser, and you have an essay to write before Monday.
You’re so distracted and overwhelmed by all the various things coming into your awareness that you ironically aren’t aware of any of it.
If you’ve ever tried to work on an online business, you’ll know exactly what information overload is, and now that we have the internet, it’s even more of a problem.
There are a million and one things you could do online with an internet connection, and when you only have one thing to focus on, distraction is a ever present threat.
You can’t really avoid things like Facebook and YouTube.. But I’m going to let you know how you can avoid information overload on the internet with a few little tricks and tips!
What is Information Overload?
Information Overload is what happens to your brain when you’re taking in too much information.
It’s also what happens when you are trying to do something and instead of actually DOING it, you spend hours and hours of time reading and learning about how it works, how to do it, and how other people do it. Instead of actually you know.. Doing it yourself!
It can really hold you back as well!
Spending so much time taking in information can limit your progress and stop you doing anything! It’s sometimes also referred to as ‘Analysis Paralysis’ Meaning the situation where you’re so worried about stats, details and getting everything ‘right’ that you don’t do or produce anything at all!
It’s a dangerous thing to have happen to you, and it can stop you achieving your dreams.
Why is information overload bad?
Well, it stops you actually getting things done.
As mentioned in the Millionaire Fast lane (Brilliant book explaining how to get wealthy fast) successful people take action first and then calibrate and refine it later.
They ‘Fire then aim’ or ‘Jump of a cliff and build wings on the way down’.
It’s the best way to be, because rather than wasting time working out every little detail, you’re taking action when others aren’t. It puts you ahead of the competition and stacks the odds of winning in your favour.
If instead you spend all day reading about every little detail of the thing you’re thinking of doing, then you’re not getting anything done! The best thing to do is to balance the two.
For example, read for an hour or two a day and then spend the rest of the time taking massive action (Like in the book – ‘The 10X Rule‘ by Grant Cardone) and getting shit done. You’re most likely to succeed by just going out and getting things done than you are waiting for the ‘perfect time’.
There will never be a perfect time. Instead of waiting until the iron is hot before striking, Make the iron hot BY striking. Anyway, let’s talk about how the internet has made things a lot worse shall we..
Information overload on the internet
Ah, the internet..
Where you can find anything you want with a few clicks, and you could spend 100 lifetimes just going through the videos in one little category on YouTube.
Thousands of hours of YouTube videos are uploaded to the site every hour.
– Millions of blog posts are published on the internet every week.
– Millions of photos are uploaded to Instagram every week.
– Hundreds and thousands of book are published every month.
You can’t physically take in all that information even if you had superhuman reading speed and you could retain information like a computer.
But people try to!
People will read blog post after blog post and try to remember it all. We’re not computers, and we can’t store information like them. We have to decide WHICH information is important to us and what we want to store in our brains.
WE have to decide what things we are going to spend time on each day, and this decision will affect our chances of being a successful person. Let’s use a quick example –
Person A – Spends 6 hours a day watching Emmerdale
Person B – Spends 6 hours a day reading business blogs, books, and watching YouTube videos about trading stocks
Person C – Spends two hours a day reading the same as Person B, BUT another 8 hours per day taking action and DOING what they’ve read about
Who’s gonna succeed?
Person C of course.
You could spend your whole life reading and learning everything you can about your particular area of interest, but it will mean nothing unless you’ve actually used any of that information.
There’s an old saying – ‘Knowledge is useless without action’
We have to find a balance.
Restricting internet time
One way to stop information overload on the internet is to restrict your time on it.
You could set a timer for doing ‘fun things’ on the internet, like Facebook, Watching YouTube videos and browsing blogs.
Then the rest of the time you have to be taking action and doing what you’ve learned. Whenever I read a book, I always highlight certain bits and then put those important bits into action the SAME WEEK.
Information overload is massive on the internet, so unless we limit our time spent on ‘unproductive’ things we won’t get anywhere! It’s one the most common places people procrastinate.
Try setting a limit every day for doing fun things that aren’t productive, and don’t go over that limit. If you spend a lot of time on things like Farmville, then set a time limit of only one hour per day, and when you’ve used that hour you have to stop playing!
See how different things are in a month of doing this. You’ll have much more done and you’ll feel better about yourself! Let’s move onto some brain productivity tips.
Productive Brain Tips
There are a few ways you can optimise your brain for working on a computer and stopping the internet information overload.
When working online – I’m using the example of working online in this post, but this all applies the same way to whatever work you’re doing. It also applies if you’re a piano player and you’re spending too much time on Facebook when you should be practising.
Optimising your brain – Your brain is a complex machine that can perform really well, or really poorly. It can perform like a focused driven machine and give you everything you want, or it can make life a foggy confusing and frustrating experience. It depends on how you use it, what you think about and what you ‘feed’ it.
Setting Goals – A little note here about goals. Information overload is a serious problem, but perhaps an even bigger problem is not setting yourself goals to work towards. Without goals, you’ll never get anywhere. I wrote a post which you should read – Setting goals and why it’s so important.
Feeding your brain – You can improve your brainpower by feeding it certain things. We need a specific amount of vitamins and minerals in order to perform at our best. Have a look at the Multivitamins and Supplements in the Personal Development Resources section.
90 minute bursts of work
I find that working in 90 minute bursts makes me more productive.
Sure you could sit down (Or stand up depending on your job) and work for longer, but I find that you’ll perform better when you work solidly for an hour and a half, then take a 20 minute break and do something different, then go back to it.
Working in these ‘cycles’ helps to keep you focused. That being said, some people find it harder to work like this. Try it and see what works best for you, everyone’s different.
Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is critical to avoiding information overload.
Sleep is a force multiplier.
That means that you can be the most productive person on the planet, and you can know all the things you need to know, but if you’re not sleeping enough you’ll never be performing as well as you could be.
Sleep is more important than taking the right kind of supplements, or knowing what to work on. It’s more important than stopping internet information overload, and it’s more important than the latest writing productivity tips list.
I know some people will swear by the fact that you should be working all the time if you’re after success, but you’ll achieve more, (and faster) if you sleep enough. Oh, and you’ll feel better too.
Specific Websites That Distract You
Information overload can strike at any time, and having lots of sites in your bookmarks can make the problem worse.
If you’re the sort of person who has a million sites saved in their bookmarks and they always check them, this applies to you. You’ll probably notice if you think about it, that there are about 5 or so sites that you spend MOST of your time on. Maybe it’s Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr, Stumbleupon, or maybe you just read too many random blogs.
Try and see what sites you’re on the most, and then use the following tips to limit your information overload and get more done!
Using Mantras as passwords
If you visit sites you have to ‘log in’ to a lot, try using a mantra as a password.
A mantra is a word or phrase that you repeat loads of times. It can be sued to change your beliefs and drill things into your brain.
An example of such a password could be – ‘I am a successful piano player’.
Typing this in every time you log in will eventually cause you to adopt that belief completely. If you’re going to spend lots of time on procrastination sites than at least use the time you spend typing your password well.
Don’t save login information
Don’t save your log in details and type it out each time you log in. This will make you less inclined to check it every 5 seconds, because you’ll know that you have to type out your password. Also the password will be a mantra so it will help reinforce that belief as well.
Banish information overload on the internet
Information overload on the internet is a big problem.
To avoid it, I suggest you take on board the tips you’ve just read, and actually use them.
You’ve just spend a few minutes reading an article which could change your life, but it won’t do that if you don’t take action on it.
If you just read this and then move onto another article on Stumbleupon, then it won’t have an effect on you. However, if you actually take it on board, and start doing these things, then you’ll see an interesting change in your life. You’ll be more productive and you’ll get more done every day! Thanks for reading. If you liked this, make sure to subscribe and check out my other posts.