It has come to my attention that the Internet and what we?ve come to know as Information Overload have a whole lot to do with… breathing.
So much of the large load of information that come to us has to do with HYPE, and from this combination, I?ve coined the term HYPErventilate. Our only course of action is to take a deep breath and just Dive In. During your hard work of pitching it all to the curb, you?re in for a bit of heavy breathing. And lastly, when you?ve emptied the trash, you can then breathe easy.
We have all been dealing with the increasing information load for more than two decades. Here is a quote — not from our new 21st Century, but from 1990:
"Everything from telegraphy and photography in the 19th century
to the silicon chip in the 20th has amplified the din of information,
until matters have reached such proportions today that for the
average person, information no longer has any relation to the
solution of problems. Our defenses against information glut have
broken down; our information immune system is inoperable. We don't
know how to filter it out; we don't know how to reduce it; we don't
know to use it."
Indeed, information barrages us from all directions at an amazing rate. Information overload is frighteningly easy to encounter and almost desperately hard to counteract.
Deep in the bottomless pit of newsletters, RSS feeds, personal Email consisting of family announcements and forwarded Cute Stuffs, and professional Emails, you find that you have perhaps hundreds of pieces of information to assimilate every day.
Do you literally find yourself "zoning out?" Does all of this unconnected content take away the focus from the primary information you?ve also received, and which has complete relevance to the here and now, and the success of your business?
It is becoming more and more complicated to sift the golden nuggets of real information from the mountains of fool?s gold that is the data hurled our way from all directions. You literally get lost in an avalanche of information. Of course, to a certain extent, we bring this upon ourselves — most of us try to take in just too much of all the goodies that this age of unlimited digital access has brought us. Not to mention all the traditional sources such as TV, radio, billboards, and the other gazillion media pieces that hit us every day. It is no wonder that we feel overwhelmed. Daily, we have reason to HYPErventilate.
Although I?ve taken a light approach in this writing, there are serious physical symptoms showing up in people who live large amounts of time online. Professors of psychiatry at Harvard have studied the consequences of technology on the human attention span and our ability to focus on core tasks. They have coined the term ?pseudo-attention deficit disorder? (ADD). Although those of us who suffer from this disorder don't truly have clinical ADD, we do live with a shortened attention span.
To help you in your fight against information overload, learn to recognize the daily happenings that produce the problems. Once you see the patterns, there are ways to counteract and defend against being overwhelmed:
? Don't allow the profusion of content to work against you.
Instead, modify the way in which you manage it.
? Today?s demand for what amounts to out of control multitasking,
and the deluge of information have fashioned a counterproductive
way of life. What a paradox this is: The more we attempt to do,
the less we actually get done… and the more swamped we are
with information, the less time we can effectively absorb it.
? Use your Email filters and weed out the junk. A lot of what you
receive is the latest ?fad? for spammers and will have identical
subject lines or phrases. It only takes a few moments to create
a filter, and this will refunnel all the repeat spam from your
inbox. Choose some keywords contained in the subject line or the
body of the message. This will filter out those Emails that match
? In limiting the quantity of material that comes to you, you will
purge much of the source of your information overload. Once
you?ve accomplished this, you will have more time to spend doing
the things you need to do, for growing and developing your
Here is the bottom line: Implementing uncomplicated strategies for dealing with information overload online today will bring great rewards in peace of mind and increased time management, in the future. You will find you will have more time for the things you really enjoy, and for being with those who mean the most to you. Instead of being a victim of the HYPErventilating Syndrome, you will discover that
?Once in a blue moon, people will surprise you, and once in a while
people may even take your breath away.?
~from Grey?s Anatomy, 2005, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0413573/quotes
So. Again. Take a deep breath and dive right in. This time, you?ve tamed the Information Overload Beast, and you are in control.